Yesterday we talked about “Five Characteristics of Spirit-controlled Worship.” One of them is that it is sincere. In other words, Christians worship NOT as empty ritual but from our hearts (Mark 7:6-7).
Question: What do you do if your heart is not in worship (particularly as it relates on a Sunday)? Should you stay home and watch T.V. because you are not experiencing the kind of intense level of “worship awareness” that seems REALLY sincere?
Biblically, we can observe the life of King David in the Old Testament. David was a passionate worshiper, but he did not always worship with the exact heart status every time. Using David as an example, here are three “heart-levels” with which a redeemed person can sincerely worship God.
I owe a debt of gratitude to John Piper for shaping my thinking on this many years ago.
Fullness – The state of overflowing with the goodness and greatness of God which propels us to passionate worship. We see David doing this in 2 Samuel 6:12b-15 and probably characterizes most believers less than 10% of the time.
“So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn.”
Longing – Having experienced times of fullness, but not now experiencing those times, believers long for the restoration of fullness; may be brought on by suffering, sin, or apathy. We see David longing in Psalm 51:10-12. This state probably characterizes most believers more than 80% of the time.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
Remorse – The state of being aware of the gravity of our sin and regret for the human consequences of it. This is David shortly after he lost his child because of his adultery and murder in 2 Samuel 12:16-20a. Today, this probably characterizes most believers less than 10% of the time.
“David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, ‘Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.’ But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, ‘Is the child dead?’ They said, ‘He is dead.’ Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped.
In the end, the point is that all three of these levels or states of worship, when offered through Jesus, delight the heart of God. I hope that is helpful as we approach the King each day to worship him!