Preparing Your Heart for Worship: What Are You Here For?
Right now, church re-openings and their procedures have captured my attention when they are on the news. I was watching a reporter interview one individual as he was entering his church building. She asked him, ‘why did you come today?’ And he responded, ‘I am exercising my constitutional right to come to my house of worship!’. My thought was ‘really? She asks you THAT question and that is what you want to be primary? Then I have had a few conversations with Church members about returning. It is not unusual to hear my extraverted friends say, ‘I can’t wait to get to church to see everyone. I can’t wait till I can get a hug.’ Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, ‘I am happy to stay home. Watching the service at the house is more convenient. I might do this as long as you broadcast it.’ This last idea is expressed as though, ‘the body of Christ’ is somehow inconvenient!
As these thoughts have been swirling around in my head, it has changed the question in my mind from, ‘what are you here for?’ to ‘who are you here for?’ The Lord has used this time in the pandemic to help me evaluate the purposes of His church as described in scripture. I have learned to shed practices and thoughts that when it comes down to it, are not really good reasons for attending worship. When we come to our place of worship, we are coming to worship Jesus. We are not here to flaunt our freedoms (precious as they may be). And hear me well, I know the Lord works through His people, but we are not here primarily just to be with people or community. And as convenient as hearing a sermon at home might be, God intends for you to minister to others and others to minister to you as an outward expression of His love. All of those truths can be found in 1 Corinthians 12-14. We gather in order to glorify Jesus. When you come to the house of God, your first thought should be, ‘I am coming to meet with Jesus alongside my brothers and sisters. I want to make much of Him in corporate worship. Something supernatural happens when I am with them that cannot occur by myself.’ And whatever you can do to facilitate that within a corporate setting should be your primary duty. You might be asking how? Prepare your heart for worship in Spirit and truth. Prepare your heart for worship through prayer. Prepare your heart to worship through love (both for God and your church family). Prepare your heart for worship through service to your fellow man. If you do so, then Jesus will be magnified.
Matthew 22:35-40 (ESV) ‘And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”’
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