Some followers of Christ abandoned him when he asked them to eat his flesh and blood. In the book of John 6:53-69 we see some of them choosing to leave rather than follow Jesus when he told them that they would have to do this in order to live forever. In verse 60, many of them, on hearing this said, "This is hard teaching, who can accept it? Many turned their backs on him and did not follow him. The twelve who were finally left were the ones who understood that Jesus Christ had the words of eternal life and that this was a covenant talk. They chose to be with him and revere him as the promised Savior.
Worship is associated with dance, speaking in tongues, tears and many other manifestations which characterize a powerful service, yet some people come to church and leave the same way that they came in. This may be because they are fearful of letting go, or just too arrogant or angry to let go and enjoy the presence of the Lord. This therefore means that their worship will not translate into tangible change in their lives, yet this is what is needed; that we may modify our reason for calling on God and the way in which we experience Him. In John 6:53-69 Christ told his followers the truth about eternal life but they failed to receive it. This is because truth has always been hard to receive yet it is absolute and does not respect our situations or our circumstances. Therefore regardless of who we are, if prayer does not change us, then there is a problem.
Secondly, if it does not change how we see God, as the Psalmist does in Psalms 63, then that too is a problem. Worship is not just about what we want from God but also about waiting on Him for what He can do in us. Many are the times we come with our lists of demands, with everything we want changed for us, except ourselves. How awesome it could be if we were able to approach the throne and say, " I have tried to change the way I talk to others, the way I relate with them and the way I see them, but I have not been able to; Oh God, could you help me to love others as I love myself?"
Worship is about obedience, it has no laws and there is no other way around it; it is not an option but even mentioned in the very first commandment; a prerequisite for our God.
Worship is about reverence. It is good to enjoy the presence of the Lord, but this too should be done in fear. New medical students run away when they first encounter a cadaver. Some of them lose sleep, cry, and run to other departments to do other programs but for those who survive the traumatic moments, it is soon business as usual to the extent that they can take a cup of tea with a body in room; they become casual with what they first feared. We Christians are also guilty of treating God causally after a while instead of treating Him with the reverence that is deserving of Him as our God all the time and always.
We are human beings and we love it when things are going well for us; this is when it is easiest to worship God. However, when sacrifice and perseverance are needed of us we cry foul at how unfair things are. Yet worship calls for sacrifice even when we do not feel like doing so; that we may get down on our knees even when it looks like all the world has abandoned us, that we may be involved in ministry or share the word of Christ even when things are not well in our lives and in our homes. Jesus Christ may have fed the multitudes but he remained clear in his actions; that no matter what, he was God of all provision.
Worship is about holiness not just happiness; that we may be right with God before we approach the throne to give our petitions. It is about submission in all facets of our lives. It is denying ourselves and decreasing so that He may increase in us through Jesus Christ. Worship is not what we do on the outside but what continually happens on the inside.
Worship is a pursuit, a passion that should be followed with abandon and which Christians must commit to. However, if worship fails to change us, then we begin to lose ourselves to the world instead of to Christ. As a result, the world then begins to spite us because we are giving mixed signals about our salvation; we are failing at being the salt and the light of the world. As Christians, let us all drink of Christ, lose our own ideals and embrace his, change our beliefs and soak in his, stop being casual with our God and aim to lose ourselves in worship.
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.
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