If an outsider came into your Sunday meeting and observed you worshiping, what would he conclude you think about God?
Does your expression of worship say how great and glorious, delightful and exciting you think God is? Does your worship say you’ve found God to be faithful and good, loving and satisfying? Would an outsider conclude you believe God to be real and present?
Or does your worship say you find God about as exciting as an exam on protein chains (maybe you bio majors would get excited about this – I wouldn’t). Do you sing with all the enthusiasm of someone who has just been asked to shovel 2 tons of manure? Does your worship say you believe God is distant and uncaring?
What does our worship say about what God did for us? Do we sing like those who have been redeemed eternally from the wrath of God? Like those who have been seated with Christ in heavenly places? Like those who are grateful to have every sin wiped away? Do we rejoice like those who have the king of the universe living inside them?
We should worship God expressively, not for a show or to impress others, but as a way of saying to him how much we love him. That we consider him to be infinitely great and glorious and majestic. That we consider him to be praiseworthy.
Worship is primarily an issue of the heart. So someone could worship God wholeheartedly and not show it on the outside. But I like what I once heard John Piper say – worship begins in the heart but should not stay there. It should be expressed.
Our glad hearts should overflow with thanks for all God did for us in Christ. Hey, Jesus DIED for us. He was tortured, spit on, mocked, pierced, so that we could enjoy God for ever and ever. Essentially, Jesus went to hell so that we don’t have to. Isn’t that worth getting excited about?
We should worship like rich people! Because we are. We’ve been given every spiritual blessing in Christ! We should sing with more enthusiasm than if we just found out we won the lottery.
We should sing like those who know God is working all things for good in our lives. Like those who are being transformed into the very image of Christ. Like those who will worship around the throne for eternity?
God has designed us to express delight in things excellent and beautiful. We gush when we see a glorious sunset. We clap and shout at Coldplay concerts and Steeler games (well, maybe not if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan). We give standing ovations for outstanding accomplishments. Our cheers show what we think of that diving catch or that guitar solo.
Again, our worship isn’t some kind of performance we put on for others. Our worship is for God. But it says something about what we think about him.
This Sunday let’s show God what we think of him and sing the roofs off our church buildings.
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Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.