Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.- Mark 12:30 (NIV)
God wants all of you. God doesn’t want a part of your life. He asks for all of your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. God is not interested in halfhearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of your time and money. He desires your full devotion, not little bits of your life.
Where you worship is not as important as why you worship and how much of yourself you offer to God when you worship. There is a right and wrong way to worship. The Bible says, “Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please Him”.-Hebrews 12:28 The kind of worship that pleases God has four characteristics:
God is pleased when our worship is accurate. People often say, “I like to think of God as…”, and then they shared their idea of the kind of God they would like to worship. But we cannot just create our own comfortable or politically correct image of God and worship it. That is idolatry. Worship must be based on the truth of Scripture, not our opinions about God. “True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks”-John 4:23-24. To “worship in truth” means to worship God as He is truly revealed in the Bible.
God is pleased when our worship is authentic. When Jesus said you must “worship in spirit”, He wasn’t referring to the Holy Spirit, but to your spirit. Made in God’s image, you are a spirit that resides in a body, and God designed your spirit to communicate with Him. Worship is your spirit responding to God’s Spirit. When Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart and soul”, He meant that worship must be genuine and heartfelt. It is not just a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say. Heartless praise is not praise at all! It is worthless, and an insult to God.
When we worship, God looks past our words to see the attitude of our hearts. The Bible says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”.-1 Samuel 16:7 Since worship involves delighting in God, it engages your emotions. God gave you emotions so you could worship Him with deep feeling-but those emotions must be genuine, not faked. God hates hypocrisy. He doesn’t want showmanship or pretense or phoniness in worship. He wants your honest, real love. We can worship God imperfectly, but we cannot worship Him insincerely.
Of course, sincerity alone is not enough; you can be sincerely wrong. That’s why both spirit and truth are required. Worship must be both accurate and authentic. God-pleasing worship is deeply emotional and deeply doctrinal. We use both our hearts and our heads. Christians often differ on the most appropriate or authentic way to express praise to God. God wants you to be yourself. You don’t bring glory to God by trying to be someone He never intended you to be.
God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful. Jesus’ command to “love God with all your mind” is repeated four times in the New Testament. If worship is mindless, it is meaningless. You must engage your mind. Jesus called thoughtless worship “vain repetitions”.
God is pleased when our worship is practical. The Bibles says, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship”. Why does God want your body? In worship we are to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices“. God wants us to live for Him! One thing worship costs us is our self-centeredness. You cannot exalt God and yourself at the same time. You don’t worship to be seen by others or to please yourself. You deliberately shift the focus off yourself.
When you praise God even when you don’t feel like it, when you get out of bed to worship when you’re tired, or when you help others when you are worn out, you are offering a sacrifice of worship to God. That pleases God.