Those bad Pharisees! I can’t believe how stubborn they were! I’m not like them! I’m A-OK! Now, those people at the church down the street, well …
We tend to see the faults in others before we see our own. Isn’t that true? I’m pretty sure that’s called pride. So as we examine what the Bible says about worship, let us look inward, at our hearts.
Jesus talked about two kinds of worshippers – “true worshippers” and those who “worship me in vain.” Do we really understand the difference? Let Jesus explain.
To the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said,
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23-24 NIV
But when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, He said,
“You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain;” Matthew 15:6-9
The Greek word translated “worship” in the first passage is proskuneo. It means to prostrate oneself in worship, to reverence, to adore.
To lie prostrate implies total surrender. Dictionary.com defines prostrate – “to cast (oneself) face down on the ground in humility, submission, or adoration”.
The Pharisees put on a show of reverence, but were not totally surrendered to God. It is interesting to note that Jesus did not use the same word for worship in Matthew 15:9. He used the word sebomai, which means to revere. There is a big difference. The Pharisees honored God, but they were not surrendered to His will. Their hearts were somewhere else.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
The Heart of Paul translation says,
“…offer your whole self to God with no strings attached.”
Let us examine our heart. What kind of worshipper am I? Is my worship pleasing to God? Am I surrendered to His will? Or, do I worship Him in vain? Do I give Him reverence, but cling stubbornly to my own will? Do I worry more about how I appear on the outside, or the condition of my heart?
Am I totally surrendered to Jesus?
“If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls “mounting up with wings as eagles” to the “heavenly places” in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us.”- Hannah Whitall Smith
“God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”- Andrew Murray