The Profile of a Worshipper
“He whose walk is blameless will minister to me” (Psalm 101:6).
God is not just seeing worship. He’s seeking worshipers (John 4). Otherwise, we could just listen to praise music on our iPods, put it on continuous play, and be done with it. God would be appeased and we could do our own thing. But it’s not that simple. God is looking for worshipers – people.
And, of course, He’s more interested in the condition of our hearts than the position of our hands and in the choices of our volition than in the beauty of our voices. Yes, God enjoys our singing, clapping, and kneeling, but it does no good to bend the knee before God if we have not first bent our hearts.
A pastor who serves in the Midwest had a dream. He had been praying about the spiritual worship of his church. He received a very cogent answer which showed the difference between going through the motions of worship and really getting in touch with God.
“I was sitting in my usual place – in the church auditorium, on the platform in the chancel area. The organist was playing the prelude to an empty auditorium. Soon, the back doors of the auditorium swung open and my parishioners began to enter the auditorium. From a distance, everyone looked normal – the ladies were wearing their stylish clothes, and the men were dressed in pin-striped suits, heavy-starched shirts, and designer ties. Everyone looked happy, as usual, and there was the normal exchange of courtesies. When asked ‘How are you doing?’ everyone responses, as usual, ‘Just fine, and how are you?’
“But as they came closer, I noticed that something was wrong. Their skin was emaciated and drawn, their bodies were weak and feeble. It looked like all the vitality and nutrients had been sucked from their bodies. The sanctuary was soon filled with well-dressed, mannerly people with decrepit bodies.
“The worship service began and everyone proceeded to work through the order of worship – singing the hymns and choruses, prating when called upon, giving when the plates were passed, reciting the responsive readings – everything, as usual.
“I asked the Lord the meaning of this peculiar dream. The Lord said, ‘I am letting you see the spiritual condition of the people. Instead of seeing their outward appearance, you are observing the condition of their spirits. On the outside, they are prepared to play church, but on the inside, they are not ready for worship. Those who worship Me must worship Me in spirit and in truth.'”
It is important that we prepare for worship. What we do during corporate worship, regardless of what form our liturgy takes, is irrelevant if we have not adequately and properly prepared for the worship experience. Many cymbals are crashed, hands raised, chords tuned, poems eloquently spoken, and memorized prayers recited in the name of worship, but they are received as dissonance and muddled syllables by the Almighty if our spirits are not right.
“The acceptability of any act of worship is determined by the acceptability of the worshiper.” – Ron Dunn