If preventing people from coming to the knowledge of God is the devil’s top priority, then sabotaging believers’ attempts at worshiping Him is a close second. Because that defeat not only affects our own lives but the church – rendering us less effective in the world. But most of all, it denies God the glory He deserves.
So how does the #1 enemy to worship get his job done in the believer’s life? He’s called the “father of lies” (John 8:44) for a reason!
Here are fourteen of the many lies he tries to get us to believe to prevent us from bowing at the throne of the Most High God.
1 – Worship is for me. What I want. What I like. How I feel. What God will do for me.
TRUTH: Worship isn’t about me – or it’s not worship (of God). It’s not a consumer activity. It’s the submissive response of all I am to all God is and does.
“Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).
2 – My sin doesn’t affect my worship. God knows I still love Him.
TRUTH: God can’t be in the presence of sin – so worship is in vain. Sin is a heart issue revealing a lack of love for God.
“And He said to them, ‘Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me” (Mark 7: 6-7a). (See also Psalm 24:3-4.)
3 – I’m unfit to worship God. I’ve blown it too many times in my life.
TRUTH: Everyone is unfit to worship God apart from His saving grace and forgiveness. If I have sincerely repented of any sin the Holy Spirit has brought to my attention, then I can have every “confidence” to come before God in worship.
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place (of worship) by the blood of Jesus . . . [Then] Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19, 22). (See also 1 John 1:9.)
4 – God is like me. I know what He thinks and is likely to do. So there’s no need to sacrifice the time and attention to know or worship Him.
TRUTH: God is who He says He is – infinite, holy, and unsearchable. True worship is grounded in the critical issue of knowing and loving God.
“You thought that I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21 – God confronting those who didn’t honor Him).
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33, 36).
5 – God doesn’t really care if I come. He’s got all these other people’s attention.
TRUTH: Loving God is demonstrated in many ways, but it begins with and is sustained by our obedience in worship.
“Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY'” (Luke 4:8).
6 – Worship is a meaningless tradition. We do it just because it’s always been done that way.
TRUTH: Worship is still and will always be God’s purpose for His seeking and saving us. And worshiping Him is the most meaningful thing I could ever do in response to all He’s done for me. He is worthy!
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, bold emphasis mine)
7 – Worship is a passive activity. It’s ok to just show up and observe – or participate halfheartedly.
TRUTH: There is absolutely nothing passive about worship in the Bible. Examining word definitions, commands, and examples set by Bible-time believers, we find that worship of our God is to be engaged in with all our might.
“For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God’” (Romans 14:11).
8 – God won’t respond. Won’t notice. I’m unimportant.
TRUTH: God promises His presence. He loves me and longs to be known by me. I can expect God to be God!
“ . . . the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him” (2 Chronicles 15:2) (See also Jeremiah 31:3.)
9 – Worship makes no difference in my life. Why bother.
TRUTH: Basking in the amazing presence of God as I pour myself out to Him in worship brings about a powerful spiritual transformation from the inside out! (See also #1 and #5.)
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).
10 – Other people are responsible for whether or not I actually worship at church or not. I don’t always like the way things are done. And sometimes there are distractions.
TRUTH: No one (including my worship leader) can make me worship or prevent me from worshiping. I alone am responsible for my growth in worship intimacy with God – just as I’m accountable for my own daily walk with Him. I can prepare and discipline myself to get past distractions to focus on God.
“O send out Your light and Your truth (His word), let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill (the place for worship) And to Your dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God” (Psalm 43:3-4).
11 – My lack of worship doesn’t affect the church. It’s personal.
TRUTH: True worship encourages others in their relationships with God and reproduces more worship! We’re called to worship Him together. (Even though it is personal.) Plus, if I’m not growing in my desire to worship God, chances are I’m not growing in other aspects of the Christian life – including those that affect my role in the body of Christ.
“My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:2-3).
12- It’s better that nonbelievers not see us worship. It might seem weird.
TRUTH: The Bible teaches that something supernatural happens when we lift the name of our God for all to see. It exposes His glory and reveals our authenticity.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:3). (See also Acts 16:16-34.)
13 – Worship is just for church. 20 minutes on Sunday is enough.
TRUTH: There are more examples in the Bible of people worshiping privately than together as a body of believers. Private worship is the foundation and preparation for corporate worship. Our God deserves it everyday!
“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 146:1-2).
14 – I don’t understand worship. I don’t have what it takes.
TRUTH: True worship, just like the victorious Christian life, is the fruit of daily seeking to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is my guide in worship, and the Bible is my roadmap. As I grow in the knowledge and love of God, my desire and confidence to humble myself before Him in worship will grow as well. God knows my heart and lovingly accepts all true offerings.
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
Friends, when we fall for these lies, it denies the Creator God of the Universe the worship that He deserves. That He requires. And it prevents us from fulfilling our God-given purpose as worshipers of the Most High God!
It’s imperative that we continually grow to know and love God more – by spending time in His word and in prayer. That is the fuel for greater depths of worship and the weapon to fight Satan’s lies.
We need know what the Bible teaches about God’s plan for us as His worshipers. After many years in ministry, I discovered there was so much I didn’t understand about biblical worship. (My worship story is here.) And it changed everything when I let His word influence my worship (privately and at church) instead of my preconceived ideas – or the lies whispered in my ear.
So be on the alert (1 Peter 5:8)! Know the enemy’s schemes so you can quickly deny their power over you! So much is lost – from God’s glory (first and foremost!), to the transforming power of Christ, to unity in the church – when we don’t get worship right. So very much is lost.
Remember, we have a God who by His “abundant lovingkindness” ushers into His presence! He longs for us to be there!
“But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You” (Psalm 5:7).
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God . . . ” (Psalm 95:2- 3a)!
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