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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Worship is a Heart Matter

We are told in Deuteronomy 6:5 that we should love the Lord with all our heart. The same thing is true for our worship of Him. Worship is a heart matter. True worship, the kind of worship God seeks, comes from the heart that loves Him and is surrendered to Him. When we do not worship God from the heart and just pay Him lip service, then we have a spiritual heart problem. Worship from lips that honor God while the heart is far from Him, worship that is based only on human rules and tradition is worship that is in vain (Isaiah 29:13). It is lukewarm worship that the Lord will simply want to spit out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16).

When we worship from a heart that loves God and is surrendered to Him, when we worship from a heart that cherishes His Word and loves His ways, we are offering God the kind of worship He desires. But, when our hearts are far from God, the worship that comes from our lips is empty and not at all pleasing to God. There are many symptoms of a spiritual heart problem. Love of money, hate and unforgiveness, and love of the world are just some of these symptoms, things that prevent our hearts from being near to God.

When we place all of our hope in riches, when money becomes our master or we allow money to become an idol, our hearts are turned from God. Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters. We can love only one master and will hate the other. We cannot love and serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). So, when we allow money to become our master, we turn our hearts away from God.

When we harbor hate or unforgiveness against someone, we also turn our hearts away from God. It is impossible for anyone to claim to love God, while at the same time hating a brother or sister. If we do so, then we are lying, not just to God, but also to ourselves (1 John 4:20). Hate directed toward another turns the heart from God. Jesus taught that we must always look to forgive each other. When we harbor unforgiveness or we are at odds with a brother or sister, we should not bring an offering of worship to God. That kind of worship is lip service and not from a heart turned to God. We must first be reconciled to that brother or sister and then we can present that offering to God (Matthew 5:23-24).

When we love the world more than we love God, when we choose to embrace the things and the ways of the world over those of God, not only are our hearts far from God, but we also become His enemy (James 4:4). We need to surrender our hearts completely to Him and desire Him and His ways over the world and its ways. When we turn our hearts to God, we may be in the world, but we are no longer of the world.

God desires, and deserves, hearts that are turned completely to Him. When we offer Him praise and worship from a heart that is completely His, we are then true worshipers, the kind of worshipers God seeks. It is then that the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts are completely acceptable to Him (Psalm 19:14).

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