Friday, June 20, 2008

Why is it difficult for some people to worship?

It depends.

If the person is not a Christ follower the first act of worship toward God would be to confess their sin to Him, accept Christ’s work on the cross as a replacement for the penalty of their sin, repent, and begin following Christ. Before they do that they won’t understand why anyone would worship Him. They may sing and look like they are worshipping Him but it likely is just an emotional response or they’re just trying to fit in.

If the question is speaking specifically to corporate worship and the time we spend in song, scripture, and prayer there are several possible reasons one might struggle. It may be difficult for some people to worship because they are struggling with sin in their life. The sin has dampened their relationship with God. As with someone who hasn’t begun a relationship with God, they need to confess and repent of their sin. God says in Isaiah 29:13, “These people come near to me with there mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Our heart needs to be right before our outward stance of worship will be genuine or come easily.

Another reason people have a difficult time worshipping is because they get things flipped around. They come with the mindset that the worship time is for them. If the music isn’t what they would prefer or anything else isn’t to their liking they won’t respond. We have to understand that worship is for God. It’s what we bring to Him. It should be a sacrifice for us. Our physical, mental, and emotional selves should be spent at the end of a corporate worship time. That is not to say that we won’t benefit greatly as we respond with selfless worship.

Another thing to remember is that you can’t always judge if someone is worshipping by how they look. In some church traditions a stance of reverence has been modeled. In others outward expressions of passion and emotion are the norm. In both extremes and everything in between there will be some responding in genuine worship and others just going through the motions. Again, God looks past our outward expressions and into our hearts as He seeks true worshippers.

One final thing to remember is that corporate worship is not the easiest path of connection to God for all of us. There are many ways in which people have a sense of connection to God. We call them spiritual pathways. For example some people experience and respond to God easier as they enjoy His creation, or study His word. For others it’s in serving those in need or speaking out against injustice. If you find this is true for you, you need to cultivate those pathways. But you also need to grow in the pathways that you struggle with.

We shouldn’t measure our worship of God solely by the ease by which we worship Him on a Sunday morning. In truth, every action, thought, or motive we have can and should be one of worship. The frequency and consistency of our correct response to God, (i.e. worship) throughout the week will greatly impact our desire and ability to worship Him during our Sunday gatherings.

-David Heigel

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