My youth pastor said that worship is more than just singing the words. We need to be thinking about the words.
When I sit down every week after we’ve sung a few praise songs in church, my though process is similar to this: Seriously? Did I really just zone out for all of those songs? I just sang four hymns, and they didn’t count for anything? Why can’t I pay attention?
Because I’m busy staring at the cute guy in the pew in front of me.
I’m busy looking at my friend’s bouncy curls and thinking about how I can achieve such beauty.
I’m busy staring at the clock, thinking about the 15 minutes that have passed since I’ve been seated.
I’m thinking about everything except what I’m supposed to be thinking about.
Why can’t I focus? What is my problem?
It’s called Satan (along with the troublesome triplets named me, myself, and I).
Satan wants to distract me from doing the right thing and from being close with my Savior. He can’t destroy my relationship with Christ because nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).
Satan can distract me, help me lose my focus, and get my attention fixed on something else like Cute Guy or Curly Girl or a ticking clock. He uses whatever he can get his hands on to tempt me and lure my thoughts away from Christ.
I distract myself from Christ. I am fallen, and even though I’m a Christian, I still have a sin nature that is focused on yours truly. Will that boy ever like me? How can I get curly hair? When can I sit down? Are you noticing a pattern? My sin nature lures me into selfishness and sin, including selfish thoughts.
Somehow, my focus can be placed on my family, my friends, my phone, and everything else in my life without a problem. How come I can’t focus on Jesus for less than 30 minutes a week?
Because I’m a mess.
My inability to focus is not ADD where I can’t focus on anything and always have to be moving around.
It’s not a deadly illness or a passing sickness or something that can be treated with focusing medication. (Although, if such a thing existed, I would buy it. Feel free to point me in the right direction.)
My inability to focus can be treated with saturation—saturation of Jesus and His Word.
If I have a math test to take, I’m going to focus on math by saturating myself with the study of equations, asking my teacher questions, and doing practice problems. Likewise, I’m going to focus on Christ by saturating myself with the study of His Word, talking to Him, and exercising my faith by doing good deeds.
I can’t expect results right away. It takes weeks to study something and have the information memorized. And we’re not simply memorizing God’s Word. We are diving into the Christian walk so that on Sunday mornings, we’ll be able to sing “How Great Thou Art” and actually be able think of the ways that God has been great toward us.
Another thing that I have yet to wrap my mind around is…
GOD DOES NOT LOVE US BECAUSE WE SING HYMNS AND THINK ABOUT THE WORDS.
God loves us because we’re His. God loves us because He is love.
It’s a matter of pleasing and displeasing God. It’s a matter of choosing to think about the words. On Sunday morning, you probably won’t want to think about the words of a hymn. It’s more fun to imagine yourself next to Mr. Cutie on your wedding day or the big stack of pancakes waiting for you at Bob Evans. It’s a choice to worship; it doesn’t come naturally.
It may take me a long time to see the difference between pleasing God and trying to make Him love me more. (And most likely, I’ll discuss this topic again.)
His love for me is complete. It’s full. It’s finished. But I can work to please Him and bring Him praise and glory forever. There will be no end to that. After all, we’ll be praising God in heaven.
Focusing on a hymn’s words doesn’t make God love you more. We worship to obey Him because He commands us to do so.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 29:2).
God smiles when we worship Him. It gives Him glory. We need to worship Him because He’s done so many amazing things for us! Don’t do it so He will grow in His love for you. Do it so you will grow in your love for Him.