So lately I have felt conviction over a sin that could quite possibly be one of the saddest of my life. It doesn’t happen Friday or Saturday night. It doesn’t take place at a party or at the dinner table.
It happens Sunday morning as I stand with my church worshiping.
I’ve been reading through the Psalms this past month and have really been focusing on learning more about what it means for God’s love to be unfailing. Think about that word. What else do you know that is unfailing? What other love in this world could ever be described as unfailing? Even our love for others could never be unfailing, because we fail to love others all the time.
As I stand with my church family singing praises up to God, I’ve realized that most Sundays my mind is not where it should be. Most of the time, if I’m being completely honest, I’m focusing on my own faith. I’m focusing on my own life and what I’ve gotten out of my walk with Christ. These meditations aren’t inherently wrong, but they are wrong in my heart because they don’t lead me to praising God for who he is but instead they lead me to praising him as a means to an end. I’ve even noticed that if I lift my hands to worship, I’ll think about what people around me are thinking. Do they think ‘Why is she lifting her hands? I don’t think she understands scripture quite deeply enough to truly lift her hands’ or ‘Man, she’s lifting her hands but is that really genuine’ and the answer to the second one is in the thought itself. Then, if I don’t lift my hands, I’ll think about if people are wondering ‘Well if you REALLY believed you would’ve raised your hands at that part of the song.’ I compare myself to others and wonder where I would rank in spiritual maturity. My concern is not for God’s character and how worthy he is of praise. My concern is for my own image and my own works, as if praising God was somehow something we could ever earn the right to do. I use worship for selfish ends.
And this waste of worship dear friends, is a horrific tragedy.
One thing I’ve come to realize as I’ve read through the Psalms is that following God and praising Him has way more to do with who He is than it has to do with who I am. The absolute only reason why my praise is even acceptable in God’s eyes is because of what He’s done for me. Every word I sing and hand I lift is solely because of who God is. It is all about His love and all about His righteousness.
Psalm 17:7 “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”
“I will give thanks because of HIS righteousness” (my emphasis added). Therefore, when I’m singing and praising, my thoughts should be solely focused on who God is and His unfailing love. It should be all about him and not about me in the slightest. If you read the last few Psalms, Psalm 147-150, the focus is all on praising God. Praising him for all that he has made, praising him for all he has redeemed, praising him for all he has done for his people. After reading them, the sole focus is clearly on God and who he is and all his power.
So when I sing to the Lord, it is good to be singing and praising for all that God has done. But I know that the condition of my heart now, praises him as if he is some vending machine. I don’t think of him as the loving, enduring, faithful Father that he is.
I thank God for working in my heart to show me more of his unfailing love. His patience cannot be matched by anything else. I pray that he would continue to show us how worthy he is of praise and more of who he truly is. I long for the day when we will stand in heaven and our praise will be pure to him.
Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
Look around you. Think about all the beauty God has created.
Look within you. Think about all the work God has done in you and your heart.
Look to Him. Think about His unfailing love for you. Despite all the running away we do, think about how relentlessly he pursues us every single day.
My words could never do his love justice. Good thing He gives us a whole book of words to show us.
Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.”