God desires our worship. He is a jealous God who seeks our energy, our praise, our devotion, and our heart. We either freely render it or we choose to withhold it from Him. God did not make us as robotic people, but rather He has given us the freedom to choose to whom or to what our worship will go to. We all worship something – it is innate to us. Our worship is displayed in that which we spend our time with most; it is exposed in what we think on all the time; and it is manifested in our day to day dealings with people. We all worship something – again, it is something that comes natural to us as humans. Some people worship money; spending their entire lives resting on the assurance of the numbers at the bank. Others worship their bodies; spending countless hours in the gym making sure that they meet that seemingly “perfect” standard. And then there are others who worship pleasure – be it drugs or sex, they do whatever needs to be done to feed that insatiable desire.

Over Christmas break, during my freshman year in college, I spent seven days watching the show 24 – I became so addicted that at the end of that week, I was packed and ready to transfer to Langley and work for the C.I.A. As I drove my car I constantly looked through my rear-view mirror to see if someone was following me. I just became paranoid beyond belief – always looking over my shoulder like Jack Bauer. The simple fact is that we become like that which we worship — if we pour our lives into something, that “something” will inevitably mold us into the person that we will become (for me, that week, I had become “Jack Bauer”…go figure!). Our past is not merely comprised of isolated events, but they are, on the contrary, events which define the tone for us and set the pace for the rest of our lives on this side of heaven.

But now the question arises of whom are we to worship? The answer I present is God. Not merely some abstract impersonal deity that exists somewhere in the cosmos, but rather the God revealed in the pages of the holy Scripture. This is the God who created the universe and the one who sustains it to this day by his loving mercy and grace. He is the one who made you and me and every single living thing that walks in the planet (that we take for granted o so many times).

Beyond the fact of God creating and sustaining the universe, what has God done to make Him worthy of our worship? Well, many things – just the fact that He is God is reason enough. But even more than that, God has done something greater. In spite of our rebellion and rejection, this God, stooped down and came to us. The Bible states of God in 1 John 4:19 that “[w]e love because He first loved us.” You see, He is the standard for love. And He exemplified it for us as He hung on the cross to bear our guilt and our sin. How awesome is that?!…that God would make the initiative and come to us and pour His love on us in simply mind-boggling! It is that fact that should draw us to Him in worship. It is in gratitude that we cannot help but render all that we are to Him knowing what we have been delivered from–knowing we have been made right with the Father on the account His Son.

It is my ardent desire that we realize that worship is not merely singing songs and chanting a prayer, but that it is so much more than that. In Romans 12:1, the apostle Paul urges the church to, “…in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” It is our lives He wants…not some outward ritual that means nothing to us. He longs for our hearts to be lost in His praises.

I think God expects more than just worship, I think He longs for us to be known as worshipers. Many people today take a casual attitude towards church. There are many who simply go to church to sing some songs that they like and to enjoy a charming speaker whose words tickle their ears every Sunday. My favorite music group is Casting Crowns, and in one of their songs they paint an accurate picture of the estate of the church:

“Is there anyone who’s been there?

Are there any hands to raise?

Am I the only one who’s traded

In the altar for a stage?

The performance is convincing

And we know every line by heart

Only when no one is watching

Can we really fall apart”

There is so much truth in those verses– but may we live on a higher standard where God has called us to be! May we never approach God’s holy house as a show. As we come to church may we step into holy ground, taking off our pride and desires, knowing that we are there to meet with God…to bring Him our praise, adoration, confession, and even our worries. It is to church that we must come in with an attitude of giving rather than of receiving. We are to be, like Paul said, “living sacrifices” – dead to sin but alive in Christ! We are called to live in a way that is totally submissive and surrendered to the hand of God. It is more than half an hour once a week – it is a lifestyle, it is a “24/7” deal.

Let us draw closer to the flame of our faith–that it might ignite our very soul. May we go beyond the usual knowing of God and let us seek to know Him more intimately every day. Let us just worship the God who rescued us and loved us by giving up His Son as a ransom for us all. May God grant us all the wisdom and passion to be true worshipers of Him.