I used to be bad at worship

I used to be bad at worship. I really was. I knew how to sing. I could sing all the parts well. I knew when to stand up and when to sit down. But, I was bad at worship.

Not because I didn’t dance up and down, not because I didn’t get slain in the Spirit–but because I suffered from one crucial, devastating habit: I wouldn’t stop thinking about myself.

I’d look around at other people and see what they were doing. I’d wonder about lunch. I’d wonder about if the sermon would be good. I’d think about my problems–things that stressed me out. I’d wonder if I was singing completely in tune. I’d wonder if I was singing too loudly or too softly.

I’d wonder if I should raise my hands since people could see me — what would they think about me? What if I clapped — what would they think about me?

Of course, worship isn’t measured by my emotional response. Raising hands doesn’t automatically mean one has worshipped. Clapping or crying doesn’t automatically mean one has worshipped.

What is the chief criterion for knowing one has worshipped? If you forget about yourself altogether and adore God.

We, as Christians, CANNOT forget this crucial point: it’s not about us.

It’s simply not about you and me. There have got to be times each and every day (and once each week when we do it as a community) that we take time to forget about ourselves and recognize the greatness and goodness of God.

The second major aspect of worship that I was failing to do fully was that I didn’t always want to worship. I didn’t. I got tired of telling God all this stuff about how wonderful He was.

And then CS Lewis helped me. If a person doesn’t really like worship, it’s because that person has no idea what kind of God they worship. If you don’t grasp how much God has rescued you, loves you, provided for your bills, given you jobs, brought you through bad relationships, rescued you from stupid decisions, forgiven your sins, and countless other things, then of course you won’t want to thank God for anything.

Why thank Him and praise Him for something for which you have never given Him credit?

Then you meet people who really worship. They don’t care about who’s looking. They are fully aware that without God, they would have died, failed, be depressed, defeated, broke, and lost. They have EVERY reason to praise and thank a God who has rescued them over and over again. And they won’t let ANYONE get in their way of thanking and praising their rescuing God.

Are you good at worship? If not, why?

If you’re not good at worship for the reasons I’ve listed, then get better.

Practice self-control. Stop looking at other people. Focus. Force yourself to focus on the words in the songs. Get past the sound system. Get past the projector. Focus on the words. Focus on the God to whom you’re singing. And if you can’t sing, stop making excuses — just READ the words to God.

If you think your success, education, and joy in this life is your doing, then I need to introduce you to the gospel. If you’re a Christian and still think these things are your doing, then you need to confess to God your sin, repent, and start giving Him due credit.

Will you make a commitment with me? Will you refuse–from now on–to stop making excuses for not COMPLETELY forgetting about yourself during worship?

To stop looking around at what other people are doing? To stop wondering about things that distract you from worshiping? To stop taking credit for things that God has done?

Isn’t it time to worship? Isn’t He worthy to be worshiped?

See you Sunday morning. Let’s raise the roof . . .