The Heart of Worship
Christ can work wherever he chooses. In any denomination, any church style.
The style is not what matters.
It’s whether the style has become the idol or focal point of that church.
The “right” way to do things.
It’s the question of who – or what – is at the center of that church. God, or men? The Spirit, or flesh? Entertainment, or worship?
A church building may be aesthetically appealing – or its music sweet to the ear – and this does not necessarily mean that the focal point of the church is entertainment.
It takes vision and discernment of the Spirit to know who is at the center of the church, regardless of the material surroundings and aesthetics, or lack thereof.
The question is, are the worshipers within still able to meet God in a different – perhaps less comfortable or familiar – church setting? Are they able to worship God anywhere?
Those who truly have the Spirit will be able to worship God anywhere, for true worshipers worship him in Spirit and in truth – not simply in the comfort of familiar traditions, fancy clothes, elegant chalices, or a specific worship style.
If we were persecuted or homeless as a church – bereft of special garb and chalices – would we remain true to God? Or would we be so shaken by the breaking of our tradition that we would fall away?
We must have the Spirit of Christ living inside us and accessible to us at all times – not simply in Sunday sacraments or worship – to remain true to God.
If our hope is in Sabbaths or sacraments rather than in the Spirit, we will fall away.
True worshipers of God will worship him if all is stripped away – the church building, church clothing, piano, incense (for our prayers remain a greater and holier incense or offering [Psalm 141, Revelation 8]), the communion table (for we are always in communion with God [John 14:16-17, 1 John 1:3] if we have his Spirit).
True worshipers of Christ are those who would still worship him in prison, even if all these familiar elements were unavailable. For them, Christ – and his salvation and Spirit -are not confined to church walls, physical sacraments, or religious processions.
Christ is living within.
They are not “Christians” because they attend a service at a beautiful building which is recognizably Christian in appearance. They are not Christians only as long as they have the materials with which to perform certain rites.
They are Christians because they believe in Jesus Christ – nothing more, nothing less.
They take the Spirit of Christ with them everywhere they go.
Identity and Praise
Are we worshipers of God? Or of tradition, titles, appearance, self/public image, architecture, money, comfort, or entertainment?
What we worship is what defines us, and what defines us is what we worship.
Does your career define you? Does it delineate the sum of your worth and identity? Then you worship career – your title, your status, money.
Does your role as a parent define you? Do you see yourself more as a parent than as a child of God? If so, you will come to idolize (and also hate) yourself and your children. When you make the role itself a god, you will be disappointed when that god fails you, and you will be disappointed in yourself because you tie your identity into that god.
Do our church denominations or roles define us (“I’m a…Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc.” rather than “I’m a Christian” or “I’m a pastor/priest/pianist/bookkeeper” rather than “I’m a follower of Christ and child of God”)? If so, our denominations and church roles have become our idols.
We were created to desire significance, security, and sufficiency.
The problem is, we often seek the fulfillment of these needs in the wrong places – in everything and everyone but God.
In our friends.
Our families (parents, spouses, children (or children’s performance)).
Our own “morality” and “virtue”.
God is the source of our sufficiency [1 Chronicles 29:14]. All provision – employment, food, shelter, clothing – comes from him – even if we think we earned these things by ourselves, or think we are provided for by spouses/parents. Humans are conduits of provision. The Source is God.
God is the source of our security [Psalm 91]. He is our salvation. We cannot rely on our religion, our good works, or the faith of our parents for salvation. True security is found in the Savior alone.
When we seek significance, sufficiency, or security from other humans, church roles, morals, good works, religion, or anything other than God – we begin worshiping the creature (ourselves, others) rather than the Creator.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have. – Corrie ten Boom