There are nine barriers that will hinder our worship. Last time I covered unbelief, unforgiveness, unresolved conflict, submitting to or opening our lives to worldly philosophies and occult practices, idolatry, and pride and arrogance. In this, the last in this series, I will be discussing the three remaining barriers.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor. 13:1)
We must all ask ourselves, and particularly those who are leading praise and worship ministry, ‘why am I ministering?’ Is it to gain acceptance, popularity, status or self-fulfillment? Our sole reason for worship must be love for God. God’s love for us, as evidenced by His willingness to give His only begotten Son to die on our behalf, must resonate within our hearts to such a degree that out of our deepest gratitude we give ourselves back to Him in service.
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy, and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. (Rom. 12:1, AMP)
1 John 4:8 says, God is love and if we know Him (not just know of Him) we will be full of love also. People who know God are passionate about the things He is passionate about. When God rebukes the church in Laodicea, we see the importance that God places on being passionate, which should translate into our worship of Him.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Rev. 3:15-16)
If we are not willing to give God our all when we worship, then don’t worship. If there are things that are holding you back from passionately worshipping and serving God, then step back and seek help to get back to your first love. Sometimes, it pains my heart to see the faces of some praise and worship ministers who are supposed to be leading us to the holy of holies. There is no joy, no love of God, no passion in their faces or body language. This is not worshipping God in spirit and in truth; they are simply going through the motions. Paying lip service rather than heart service.
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all our heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:29-30)
This is the kind of love God desires. Indeed, this is the love He deserves.
Loss of Reverence and Awe for God
In our New Testament dispensation of grace, many believers perceive that because God is gracious and merciful they can do as they like then just ask forgiveness and all will be well. This is an issue that Paul had to address with the Christians in Rome.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! …………………………But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. (Rom. 6:15,22, emphasis mine)
There is no variableness or shadow of turning with God (James 1:17b). He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). There was a time when a believer would not come to church if he/she knew that there was unrepented sin in their life because the Holy Spirit would reveal it to someone so they stayed away. Many of us enter the house of God as though we are entering our living room. Not recognizing that we have come to meet with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Many of us come in and start catching up on the latest news with Sister Lucy and Brother Percy. We need to be taught again on the purpose of gathering together on a Sunday morning. Ministers fail to consecrate themselves the night before coming to minister but stay up watching all manner of things on the TV or going to bed late, having attended some social event the night before and come on Sunday to give God the leftovers. I know, because I used to do it myself. But God is saying to His people,
Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 20:7)
‘I am the God of your fathers – the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look. ‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. (Acts 7:32-33)
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. (Isa. 59:2)
There is no such thing as secret sin. We can pretend that we are living holy lives around our brethren but God sees everything. In trying to fool God we only fool ourselves. Part of the problem is that the things we categorize as sin and those things God calls sin are not one and the same. Therefore, we think we are okay and in right standing with God when we are not.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
We need to be constantly examining ourselves. Let us not be too quick to say not me. Allow the Holy Spirit’s search light to reveal those things that are hidden deep within. Our attitude must always be like David’s; a willingness and desire to have God search and examine our hearts. It’s better that way than when God has to do things to bring it to our attention.
Galatians 5:7 says, A little leaven leavens the whole lump. The full relevance of this is brought out in 1 Corinthians 5. In essence, we are warned by Paul to have zero tolerance for sin in our midst. When we accommodate it and turn a blind eye it takes a toll on the whole church, not just the person who is committing the sin. This is particularly true of those who are in ministry. Many times we wonder why we are not seeing the power of God being manifested. This is why God has placed us in His family called the church. We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper.
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. (Gal. 6:1-5)
Our fellowship with each other must be such that we build relationships of trust so that we can follow the instruction given in James 5:16.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (Jas. 5:16)
The Lord has been revealing to His prophets that we are in a season when God is sifting His church. He has said we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. God is looking for a remnant who know their God and will be strong and do exploits on His behalf. A remnant that will obey his command to “Be holy as I am holy”. The Lord is seeking true worshippers. Those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
[Click on the link – The Heart of Worship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Zp586pvZg]