“The meaning of the word ‘worship’ is to ascribe worth to something. In other words, it means to say and act like something has worth. It means to honor something, to say it is good and deserving of special attention. More than that, to worship something means to make it important.”
We also talked about why God deserves our worship. (Read more here.)
This week we’re going to get real for a few minutes.
Here’s the deal. Most of us think we’re doing pretty well. We haven’t killed anybody or committed any capital crimes. We go to church and read Christian blogs like this one. We’re doing alright, right?
It’s time for a more in-depth look. It won’t be easy but stick with me. It’ll be worth it in the end.
In fact, before we begin, we need to pray.
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
The Standard of Worship
In Deuteronomy 6:5, then again in Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27, God sets the standard for worship.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)
You may have that verse (or one of its counterparts) memorized, but don’t skim by this too quickly. Let’s think about what this really says.
Love the Lord your God with all your HEART
Western culture thinks of the heart as the seat of love and emotion. “Follow your heart” means to do what “feels right” to you.
When the Bible uses the word “heart,” it means a lot more than romantic love. Check it out.
The heart includes your passions, deep desires and emotions.
“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2 (NIV)
“My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.” Isaiah 65:14 (NIV)
“For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.” 2 Corinthians 2:4 (NIV)
“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.“Matthew 15:18-19 (NIV)
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
- Do I really love God with all my heart?
- Do I love Him more than anyone or anything else?
- Is He the one I long to spend time with and please or is it someone or something else?
- Do I make decisions based on what God wants or what I want?
- Do I confess my sin to Him and ask Him to make my heart more like Christ?
Take some time to pray right now. Share with God what’s on your heart.
A Word of Encouragement
None of us get this stuff right all the time. Even the apostle Paul messed up… and the Holy Spirit used him to write much of the New Testament!
“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19 (NIV)
Still, this should not discourage us from continuing to grow to be more like Christ.
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1-2 (NIV)
What we must do is continue to cling to our Savior by loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
Once again I am out of time. We’ll pick up our study of Mark 12:30 again next week. I’ll leave you today with 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NIV):
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”