Have you ever felt like you were trying to worship, but your heart just wasn't in it? Or maybe, you tried to make it look like you were worshiping because you didn't want anyone to think negatively of you. Pretending to worship may fool the person sitting next to you, but God knows our hearts and minds.
On the flip side, how many times in worship do you look around you to see what other people are doing? Do you look around to see if people are listening? One of my fellow pastors, to go unnamed, asked me this week about being on my phone during worship. He assumed that I was texting someone. Sometimes I am as my family is preparing for worship something urgent might come in. Usually, though, I am getting down things said during service that I want to store. That's right; I take down sermon notes too.
My point in this is for us reflect on our selves in the moment of worship and realize we all worship differently. The key is that we are worshipping authentically before God.
Advent Conspiracy writes:
Many times, we can learn a lot about our hearts for worship when we stop and reflect on how we are responding towards others. Are we doing things out of love, or are we being judgmental? Are we taking the time to stop and show someone the love of Christ? If we reflected on our spending this year, what would it tell us we value in our lives?
The passage above is about King Herod, who lied saying he wanted to worship Jesus when he really wanted to preserve his power. Herod called himself "King of the Jews" yet he wasn't a Jew. He became the rules of the area because he befriended powerful Jews. He would only stay ruler (and enjoy the benefit of being ruler) if he kept the Jews happy.
The Wise Men, Magi of pagan religions and a far way land, had the courage to come into Herod's court and ask him where they could find the one true King. They either assumed that Herod was aware and would already have been connected, or they had no fear of Herod. Either way, the Magi feared God more than Herod, and Herod knew his time benefitting from the Jews was coming to an end. His last attempt was to try and fake worshipping this future king.
God saw through this fake desire of worship of course and saved Jesus, Mary, and Joseph through a vision. God always knows our hearts and intentions.
Spend some time reflecting on your own worship practices and how you can be more focused on God instead of what others think or what others are doing.
Things for Thought:
- Where is my focus when I worship?
- Are there things that distract me? What causes the distraction?
- Am I allowing others to pull me away from God?
- Ask God to show you ways you can become more engaged this week.