What comes to mind when you think about ‘worship’? Maybe it’s the gathering? Sunday services? A conference?
God sees your heart at all times. Nothing is hidden from God. Your thoughts, your daily battles and your hidden motives are no secret to God. This is an important revelation when we are considering our private life of worship. God the Father, ‘who sees what is done in secret‘ (Matthew 6:6), is not interested in public displays of worship that aren’t grounded in a love for the Lord that encapsulates our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. God cares deeply about what goes on in your heart and the way you worship him when only he is watching.
Vaughan Roberts writes that, ‘Worship cannot be limited to what we do in church on Sunday. Worship means submitting to Jesus Christ in every area of my life.’ The apostle Paul urges us in Romans 12:1, ‘in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship‘. That does not mean only our Sunday gatherings. It means everything! John Piper explains that, ‘worship is to do with real life. It is not a mythical interlude in a week of reality’.
A.W. Tozer commented forcefully on this (as he so often does). He wrote, ‘You are not worshipping God as you should if you have departmentalised your life so that some areas worship and other parts do not…This can be a great delusion—that worship only happens in church’. Of course we do worship God in the gatherings, but that should be just the tip of the iceberg.
A Call To Integrity…
Integrity is a fundamental characteristic at the heart of all true worship. Jesus strongly opposed hypocrites in the gospels; those who appear to worship God on the outside, by following empty traditions and being seen performing the external ceremonies of worship in public, whilst their hearts are full of unbelief and selfishness. They had no integrity. God hates that.
We can all fall for this trap. It’s easy to adopt a worshipping ‘persona’ in public and yet live out a very different life in private. I have observed this in myself. The life of worship is a call to integrity. Ask God to ‘search‘ you (Psalm 139:23) and root our any hypocrisy. Invite God to purify you from vain acts of worship and birth in you a deep joy for worshipping him in private. Ask him to reveal to you the scale of his mercy so that, in view of it, you can offer your whole self as a sacrifice of worship.
I encourage you to set aside time in your week to worship God when you are on your own. Sing, dance, pray, cry, confess and repent. Enjoy his presence and enjoy who he is. Delight yourself in the riches of the Gospel and the person of Jesus Christ. Approach his throne of grace day by day knowing that you are accepted and loved. Develop a healthy lifestyle of worship in the private places.