What are we focused on when we worship? What should we be focused on? These questions are considered by my friend Josh Wood at his Worship & Lyrics blog. Here’s a taste of his thoughts.
So, let me reframe this a little. I’ve often asked people if they worship God because he’s God or because they believe he’s good. I ask them if they would worship a not-good god. It’s a horribly unfair question. Our God is exceedingly good. But I’ve often wondered of myself and, honestly, others (unnamed; generally speaking), if we worship God because it benefits us. Do we, as Piper says often, elevate the gifts above the giver? Do we worship God not because he IS good, but because he DOES good (for us)?
Also, hear the reasons many people cite for rejecting God: “If God were loving, he would…” “If God were loving he wouldn’t…” “I can’t worship a God who…” – All of these reasons cite an expectation that God ought to give us what we want and act in ways with which we are comfortable.
The problem with some of the current worship atmosphere is that we worship as if God is worthy because of what He does, rather than because of Who He is. It is certainly appropriate to express our thankfulness for all that God has done for us and blessed us with, but that isn’t what makes God praiseworthy. He is praiseworthy because of Who He is, we should praise Him because He is God, without regard for what He has done for us.
I’m still processing Josh’s statement that “we do worship a God who delights foremost in himself. We as worshippers should always be mindful to emulate that. Even for God, it’s primarily about God.” I’m not sure exactly how to take this. I think Scripture does make it clear that God didn’t need us, but created us to need Him. In that regard, I agree. Yet, for some reason it seems that this statement minimizes how much God desires to be in relationship with us. Is that primarily to make Himself feel better, or is it because He knows that it will bring us more true joy? I don’t think that Josh is calling God a narcissist, and I probably would agree with him if I understood him better. Maybe he’ll explain it to me in the comments. 😉
Either way, I encourage you to read his post, and to think about why you worship God.