“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (Ps. 86:11)
When it comes to right worship of God, anything less than everything means absolutely nothing. To many people in our day, that seems a bit extreme. All-or-nothing worship, they say, is for the mega-devout. Moderation seems more balanced, and therefore more preferable. After all, it’s much easier to juggle our “religion” as one of many commitments, isn’t it? In this mindset, showing up at church on Sunday lands somewhere between getting the oil changed in the SUV and our kid’s soccer practice on this week’s list of priorities. We want the good life with a little bit of Jesus sprinkled in there somewhere for good measure.
But the truth is that this enterprise of fragmented worship is blasphemy before a holy God. We are not meant to have such a piecemeal, compartmentalized view of God, ourselves, and the world around us. When it comes down to it, true worship really is all or nothing. You see, God has ordered His creation to be an integrated whole. This cosmic wholeness is actually pre-sin, and it’s called Shalom. The world was made good because there was no part of it that was divorced from God’s goodness and glory. Nothing that was made suffered from the travail of Adam’s dreadful curse, which caused strife and enmity with the Creator. And so we must reason that it is a product of the curse that man should be so adept at compartmentalizing his life, thinking he can give some of it to the Lord and keep the rest for himself–soccer practice and SUV not withstanding.
Everything in Its Rightful Place
By now, you might be thinking that I’m against SUVs and soccer practice. I’m totally not. What I’m getting up in fisticuffs about is our attempt to isolate our worship of God from the rest of life, and still expect him to bless us (whatever our own subjective versions of blessing may entail). And while it’s easy to pick on the idols of suburbia, it isn’t the issue–not by a long shot. The real work must be done at the deep level of our hearts. We must re-orient our affections in order to truly honor God with our worship.
In other words, praising God must be the all-consuming enterprise of your life. Only then, will we enjoy and steward our time, talents, and treasures as God instructs, for anything that is not done in faith is sin (cf. Rom. 14:23). Therefore, the rightful place of everything is at the foot of God’s throne. In fact, Revelation 4:10 depicts the twenty-four elders around the throne joyfully and reverently throwing their crowns down at his feet, calling him worthy. Let’s follow their lead.
Surely, we all have our own clench-fisted crowns that need to be happily discarded at the mercy seat of God. And as long as we hold them in our hands when we come before Him, our hearts remain divided. We will be double-minded and unstable in all our ways, never able to become the fully integrated people God has wired us to be (Jas. 1:8).
The Power of an Undivided Heart
An undivided heart of praise is the presence of God’s Shalom in a world that can’t seem to get anything right. While people all around clamor for satisfaction and security, a united heart is steadfastly joyful. Why? Because it is firmly fixed upon reality. After all, what is worship but inhabiting reality? For when we worship God, the lies we are so prone to believe fade away, and the truth about everything is realized once again. That’s the power of an undivided heart.
The God we behold in worship is sovereign, wise, just, and compassionate. He is in control. He has saved us in Christ. He will one day make everything ugly, sad, and tragic in your life come untrue. And therefore we have nothing to prove. We don’t have to promote ourselves and claw our way into being recognized or well-liked. We don’t have to settle for the idols of this age. Instead, we can humbly praise the Lord, giving thanks to Him for everything because our joy lies in His unbeatable glory and righteousness. In other words, our joy lies in the reality of God–who He is and what He’s done. That’s where real blessing is found. It’s where soccer practice and oil changes become acts of worship that magnify His supremacy.
Therefore, let this Sunday be a time for the Great Physician to perform heart surgery on you. Your heart may be divided right down the middle. Perhaps you’re sick of the idols that promise so much and deliver so little. If so, God wants to mend your fragmented soul with His Shalom. His great Gospel remedy is for you to know His ways and immerse your life in His truth. So come to Him with empty hands and a heart that is ready to be decluttered, filled, and united by fear and love.
Call to Worship: Psalm 138:1-2
Confession & Assurance: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Oh the Scandal of Golgotha (no link available)
Benediction: Colossians 1:11
You can also hear songs for this Sunday on Spotify.
How to Prayerfully Prepare for this Sunday:
1. In a spirit of meditation and prayer, ask the Spirit to reveal the “crowns” in your life that haven’t been placed at the feet of Christ. Confess that you have withheld specific areas of your life from the Lord. Ask Him to give you strength and grace to help you surrender every area of your life to His lordship. Pray that the glory of Christ in the Gospel will compel faithful worship.
2. Spend some time in prayer for LifePoint. Ask that we would encounter Him through Word and Spirit this Sunday. Pray that He will change hearts and renew minds to make us more faithful and obedient to Him. Pray that there would be a spirit of joyful, passionate worship among us as we gather.