In our last article we began to explore “what is worship” and “how to worship in spirit and truth”. We will now look at some things that could hinder us from worshiping God with all our heart, soul and mind.
Pride is a great hindrance to worship. The Bible says that God opposes the proud.
James 4:6 – “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Remember worship involves communication and intimacy which can not be nurtured in pride. Along with this, some people praise and worship God in a certain way to bring attention to themselves. This is not good or pleasing to God. As well, some people don’t worship God as the Spirit leads them because they are afraid of what others may think. Pride keeps us from humbling ourselves before God. As result, you may be unwilling to bow in worship, raise your hands or dance before the Lord.
Another great hinderance to worship is a life that is not right or holy before God. A person who is living in willful sin and unforgiveness will find it difficult to worship God. When our relationship is not right with others, it breaks communion with God, which is part of worship.
Another hinderance to worship is our thoughts. If our thoughts are in turmoil or distracted by other things, we will not fully enter into worship.
A “spectator’s spirit” will hinder someone from entering into worship as well. What I mean by a “spectator spirit” is that many come to church but do not truly enter into worship because they are watching everyone else. They watch and do not enter into what the Spirit is doing in their midst.
Also, some people come to a worship service to get something instead of coming to Him to give of themselves. Therefore, they come with wrong motives. Yes, we will receive from the Lord in worship, but we should not come with this attitude.
Let us look at an example of true worship is found in Luke 7:36-50.
“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you’. ”Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
In these verses, we see some key principles concerning worship from the lady who came there to worship Jesus.
The first principle here is, a true worshiper gives themselves fully to Christ. She gave herself unrestrained to Jesus which shocked the on lookers. The second principle here is, worship can be costly. This woman poured expensive perfume on Jesus feet because she loved Jesus. This brings us to our third principle. One who has given him or herself to God will find it easy to worship God.
It is biblical to give God offerings as part of our worship which is what this woman did.
Ps. 96:8-9 – “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
The fourth principle is, a true worshiper will bow low before God and give Him their heart. She kissed Jesus and poured the perfume on Jesus feet, then kissed and wiped them with her hair. The Greek word for worship is “proskuneo” which means to kiss a person’s hand in honor or bow low before someone. The root word for “proskuneo” in Greek gives the idea of a dog licking his master in affection.
The fifth principle is, a true worshiper will not allow others to hinder them from worshipping God with all their heart and as the Holy Spirit leads. This woman was not afraid to show her true feelings for Christ before others. This woman was not afraid of criticism or rejection. She took a great risk coming into a Pharisees house uninvited and, as a sinful woman, unwelcomed. Also, in touching Jesus in public and in the way she did, she would have definitely been criticized, as this was not appropriate.
I encourage you to examine your hearts and actions in worship as you seek to apply these principles. As result, you will have a greater experience in worship and it will be more fruitful.