Has worship become stale? Do Sundays sometimes leave you wanting? The solution is not to jazz up the worship assembly but to reassess your attitude toward God. Perhaps you just want to get more out of worship. An adjustment in action may be warranted.
Worship is primarily about God. But in His wisdom, God made worship beneficial to us as well. We should all want to make worship mean more. But how?
Worship begins far from the meeting place. Every day helps to shape the next. Every decision informs the subsequent choice. Weekly worship of God is modeled after our daily devotion to him.
Every person who has ever had direct interaction with Deity has felt the weight of Jehovah’s greatness and the weakness of his own sinful condition. Isaiah was lost (Isaiah 6:5), John “fell at his feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:17 ESV), Daniel lost all strength, fell into a deep sleep, and awoke only to tremble on his hands and knees (Daniel 10:8-10).
We do not have similar experiences today. Instead we must cultivate the feeling of awe. Day by day, we must remind ourselves of God’s greatness, holiness, and majesty. We must immerse ourselves in his revelation, and lose ourselves in his creation.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28).
When we do that, our hearts cannot help but be humbled. We will recognize that life generally, and worship specifically, is not about us. Pride has no place in worship. Was the song sung off-key? Was the sermon too long? Was someone in your favorite spot? Just remind yourself that you are in the “presence of God” (Acts 10:33).
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (1 Peter 5:6).
And when we draw near to the throne of grace, let us do so with a big bucket. The first-century Christians “devoted themselves” to worship (Acts 2:42). Worship requires devotion, devotion requires preparation. The more appropriate our preparation, the bigger our bucket. General preparation refers to the daily growth of a Christian in reverence and humility. Specific preparation relates to the little things we do leading up to worship.
May I suggest a few things to help your bucket grow? Rest up on Saturday night. If you can help it, do not approach God worn out from a late night. Arrive early, without rushing. Your heart will bless you if you set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and arrive 15 minutes earlier than normal. Sit near someone, preferably in a different area than your regular seat. Promote unity, closeness, and love in your assembly, and watch others reciprocate.
Now to fill that bucket up. No one needs to leave the assembly feeling empty or unfulfilled. While you worship God, be engaged. Focus your mind and open your heart. Interact with the word, sing joyously, pray fervently, give generously, and remember Jesus’ death solemnly.
While different seasons of life present specific worship situations, we all can leave our assemblies with a full heart. I pray your heart is full each Lord’s day.