In Psalm 50, Asaph confronts Israel regarding their worship and living. What they were doing isn’t much different from what many do today. Their worship was formulaic. In other words, they were going through the motions. Sure, they brought the appropriate sacrifices, but it was done more out of a sense of duty instead of thanksgiving.
Many Do the Same Today
To our shame, many today view the Sunday worship service as nothing more than another box to check off on their spiritual checklist right alongside their morning prayer and devotion. Thinking that way, we drag ourselves to the Sunday Service, sing a few songs, bow for the pastoral prayer, greet our neighbors, place some money in the offering plate, listen to the sermon, and then we are on our way, patting ourselves on the back for a job well done. Why do we do this?
Why Do We Worship Out of Duty?
We worship out of duty because we think that is what God wants or needs. But that is far from the truth. God doesn’t need us, our provisions, or our worship. He owns everything, and He is satisfied in and of Himself. The truth is, we need God. We need His provisions and care.
The Gospel Changes Our Perspective
Instead of faking it, what we need to do is change our perspective. The way we do that is by meditating on the gospel.
The gospel tells us we are sinners, who have rebelled against and offended a holy God. As a result, we are destined to suffer His wrath. However, Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and, even though He didn’t deserve God’s wrath, He faced it on our behalf. He took the wrath we deserve on Himself. All those who repent of their sins and believe Jesus suffered the punishment we deserve, can experience a restored relationship with the Father free from the fear of judgment.
For Jesus’ sacrifice, we should be thankful. For God’s provision and care in our life, we should be thankful. Our thankfulness should drive us to worship God. So when we begin to go through the motions in worship, what we need to do is stop, meditate on the gospel, and remember God’s provisions.
We need to reset our heart, so we see that it’s not God who needs us, but we who need Him.
When we truly see our need for God and how He has provided for us, we should be driven to worship out of a sense of thankfulness instead of duty. When we worship from a right heart, we end up glorifying God. For He says in Psalm 50:23
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Ps. 50:23)
Question for Reflection
- Does thankfulness or duty drive your worship?
Casey Lewis, a Regular Contributor to Broken Shepherd, serves as the Senior Pastor of Sycamore Baptist Church in Decatur, Texas. He is a husband, father, and a follower of Jesus Christ who is passionate about growing healthy churches and reaching the lost. He primarily blogs at ChristianityMatters.com but is also a regular contributor to For the Church. Follow him on Twitter: @caseylewis33