One of the greatest untruths I’ve heard in all my years as a Christian is a person’s inability or unwillingness to “worship.” I’ve heard that so many times that it saddens me immensely, because that is an absolute lie. A person may have difficulty worshiping, but I will not accept that he is incapable of worship. As Chris Tomlin asserts, we were made to worship. Let me try to explain why I think this way.
Everyone has something that they can do naturally; the range of talents that people have at their fingertips is as varied and possible as pretty much anything that man can actually bring himself to physically, mentally, and emotionally do. For instance, I’ve been memorizing useless music trivia since I was old enough to sing; a friend of mine plays basketball so much, he dribbles – not with his mouth, but with his hands – even in his sleep. People have talents and predispositions for certain things, and everyone is wired in a way that allows them to do certain things particularly well.
There are also things that, by virtue of the human condition, people can actually do across the board, if not particularly well. For instance, most, if not all, people can walk. (Assuming they have two fully functioning legs, no offense to the differently-abled.) It may take a while, but eventually, all humans will sooner or later walk erect on two legs. There will be people who stumble every now and then, but for the most part, I think we’ll find people still have a pretty good walking-to-not-walking ratio. We were born to walk. We were also born to communicate. History shows us that humans have used a variety of tools and systems to help them communicate with one another.
What does the ability to walk, or communicate, or do things well, have to do with worship? I believe that the desire to worship is as innate as the desires to walk, communicate, and excel at something. Consider Ephesians 1:11-12
11 In Christ we were chosen to be God’s people, because from the very beginning God had decided this in keeping with his plan. And he is the One who makes everything agree with what he decides and wants.12 We are the first people who hoped in Christ, and we were chosen so that we would bring praise to God’s glory. (New Century Version)
From the very beginning, God’s plan was for us to “bring praise to [His] glory”; we were created with an innate desire to worship God. We are naturally drawn to validating or honoring God – or something or someone that takes His place. If we do not have a relationship with God, our object of worship becomes something else. A lover? Money? Self? The list goes on and on. We build our reverence and adoration on something or someone who will never fully be able to reciprocate or fully deserve that kind of praise.
Misplaced worship is extremely dangerous. Sooner or later, we will find that the object of worship is flawed or imperfect, and this realization shatters the relationship. We realize our romantic partners are not perfect and because we are seeking perfection, we end up searching for someone else to adore. The abundance – or lack – of wealth is not enough to buy us complete happiness or freedom from worry. Whatever it is that we worship – that which is on our mind most of the time, and is the driving motivation behind most, if not everything we do – will eventually fail us.
The immediate result of misplaced worship is a chink in the armor of one’s faith in the object of worship. The end results of misplaced worship are disbelief and cynicism, and the loss of joy and faith. For me, losing faith and joy in one blow is absolute torture.
Worshiping God, however, comes easily and naturally! He is glorious, worthy, holy, majestic, powerful… there is no shortage of adjectives to describe God, His attributes, and what He has done, is doing, and continues to do, for us. We are wired to worship God, and when we worship Him, we fulfill what we were created to do, and it feels amazing. It’s as natural as walking; it’s as instinctive as communicating.
Many Christians say worship is a lifestyle. If you are one of those people who find it difficult to worship, I encourage you to look at your worship, specifically 1) time set aside for you to spend in intimate conversation with Him; 2) the actual conversations that take place, and 3) the actions you perform in daily life that glorify His Name. Start with baby steps so it becomes more natural. It’s just like learning to walk: you need to start somewhere. Focus your attention, your love, and your gratitude on God, a few minutes a day, and really go to town with your praise of God. It doesn’t have to be a song; it can be a heartfelt declaration of your love between you and Him. I promise you it won’t take long; remember, you were made to worship.
Thanks in part to Mark and ElementaryHistoryTeacher, whose blog posts got me thinking, and provide a foundation for some of the points in this blog entry. :)