God lives in the midst of the praises of His people.
Psalm 22:3, “You are holy! Who inhabits the praises of Israel.” One translation reads, “You are enthroned upon the praises of Your people.” Every time we praise Him we put Him on the throne of our lives. Psalm 149:1, “Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints.”
1 Chronicles 16:23-31, “Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place. Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
Psalm 150, “Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!”
Worship is the fountainhead from which the redeemed drink to sustain the fullness of God. Worship makes God real to us. Worship is the testimony to a lost and dying world that Jesus is alive, for as the church worships Him, we show that only He can meet every need and provide healing and forgiveness.
But, the Apostle Paul warned us that we must be aware of the enemy’s devises. 2 Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” This is important when it coms to praise and worship! What are some of the traps Satan sets to hinder our worship, ground our praise and distract us from loving God with all of our heart.
Allow me to mention just a few of those WORSHIP KILLERS:
Pride will sop sincere praise and worship. It is by far our greatest stumbling block to true worship. If we are no careful, we can become proud of our humility. Remember the person who said he wrote a book about humility entitle, “Humility and how I attained it.” Or the pastor who said, “I have a great sermon on humility, and as soon as I have a big enough crowd to appreciate it I’m going to preach it.” Being proud of our gifts will lead to a showy display in order to impress others, and reveals a secret craving for applause. Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
The ugly twin of pride is self-will. One of the sadist stories in the Bible is the account of the High Priest, Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu (see Leviticus 7-10). These two were trained in the commandments of God, so they knew the proper way to worship. Yet, they willingly disobeyed. And they paid a heavy price for defiling God’s worship. When we come to God, we come on His terms! No one may worship God as he or she pleases. All true worship must have its foundation in the Word of God. 2 Peter 2:10, “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.”
Our tradition causes us to say things like, “We’ve never done it this way before. One Sunday morning a new family visited our church. The left after abut five minutes. One of our ushers asked them what was the problem. Their response, “We would never go to a church that has an overhead projector.” We fought the “Contemporary music wars,” where people did not understand what true worship is! Human tradition expects the church to look a certain way (piano and organ). It expects church people to look a certain way. I saw a sign on the front of a church once that said, “Women in slacks stay out.” True worship is not prescribed by tradition, it springs from a heart for God, and is led by the Spirit. Colossians 2:8-10, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
Tradition brings along his friend judgment. Those adhering to tradition quickly judge and condemn those who hold to another tradition. Even great worship churches can fall into the traps of tradition and judgment. They start worshiping from the heart, but after a while end up worshiping their own worship, and not worshiping God. Romans 2:1, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
Satan loves it when people are critical, because the trap of a critical spirit will keep a person from being a true worshiper. When we judge, criticize or condemn others, we build a wall that separates us from the presence of God. As long as we are pointing out the weaknesses of others, we don’t have time for God to cleanse of our own. Romans 14:10-13, “Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. And so each of us shall give an account of himself–give an answer in reference to judgment–to God. Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.” (The Amplified Bible).
There is a correct and an incorrect say to worship God. Once we have heard the truth there is no excuse for ignorance. Lacking the spiritual knowledge to worship in truth not only keeps us from true worship but can also lead us into incorrect worship that has harmful side effects. But through a knowledge of the Living God, we can receive rain from heaven to water us, sustain us, and make us fruitful. John 7:37,38, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit…”
A RELIGIOUS SPIRIT:
A person with a religious spirit is one who refuses to have the fullness of God. This person wants to control God. True worshipers seek a relationship with God, not a religious system that claims to know about Hm. Jack Deere, in his commentary on the book of Jude, gives fifteen signs of a religious spirit. Here are ten of them:
1. He has a hard time receiving rebuke from someone less spiritual than he.
2. He will not listen to people, because he can hear from God.
3. He immediately notices what is wrong with people, or the church, rather than looking for what is right.
4. He keeps score on his spiritual life and carries guilt when he doesn’t add up to the Lord’s standards.
5. He feels as though he has been appointed to fix everybody else.
6. He may feel as though he is truly closer to God than others, and his life or ministry is more pleasing to God in comparison.
7. He takes pride in spiritual discipline or spiritual maturity and ranks himself against others.
8. He will do things in order to be noticed or affirmed by people.
9. He will not fully commit to a church or lend a hand to help if the group is not “perfect” in their theology.
10. A religious spirit seeks to substitute religious activity for the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God in the believer’s life.
Forgiveness is not an option for the true worshiper, it is a requirement. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). True love doesn't hold bitterness or unforgiveness against another person. If we are bitter or hold unforgiveness against somebody, then we don't love them as Christ loved us. If we don't keep Jesus' commandments, we cannot worship with a clear conscience. True worship requires humility. Forgiveness definitely requires humility. In forgiveness, as in true worship, we are choosing to have an accurate view of self, others, and God. Because in the act of forgiveness (and I think this is why it sometimes takes me so long to get there), I have to admit that the person who wronged me is no worse than I am, that I am no better than he/she. We both are human. We both are flawed. We both have the capacity to harm others, and we both do, albeit perhaps in different ways. And we both are dependent creatures, needing the love and grace of God. And (good news!) we both are able and free to access and further God's grace and love.
Forgiveness means letting go...of control, of excuses, of the need to be right, of rights, of self-justification, of anger, hatred, holding grudges, judging, and condemning.
Forgiveness means trusting God...for justice, for mercy, for convicting, for healing, for holding everything together when I'm completely powerless and out of control.
Forgiveness means acknowledging God as God; myself as human; myself and other humans as limited and imperfect and sinful, but also as needy, conditioned to act certain ways, yet with potential to change and act differently.” Copied freefallingrace.blogspot.com
John 5:23,24, Jesus says, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” This tells us that God will not receive our gift (of worship) if we are harboring bitterness and unforgiveness.
Complaining provokes God’s wrath. It constructs a wall of doubt and mistrust between us and the presence of God. Complaining focuses on a problem or a person instead of Jesus. Complaining is the sin of being ungrateful. Yes, we have all done it from time to time. Things don’t go our way and we are complaining about this and whining about that. We make excuses. Yet the Bible clearly says that complaining is a sin. It is shows an attitude that you are ungrateful and bitter. It often tests God’s patience. Philippians 2:14-16.”Do all things without complaining and disputing.”
Not only does gossip hurt others but it also distracts one’s heart from true worship. In the midst of what should be the worship of God, the entrapped gossiper is thinking about what he or she has just heard about another person, instead of thinking about what God has said.
Philippians 1:2. “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
Ephesians 4:29-32, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another.”
These are only a few of the things that will kill your worship and interrupt the flow of the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t have to be that way, we have the power to break away from anything that would hinder from true worship.
Copied (in part) and edited by John Sparks, adapted from Sam Hinn, author of Kissing the Face of God (www.charismahouse.com).
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