I just finished a time of worship and reading His word. In browsing through the book of Isaiah, I was struck by the fact that God rejected Israel's worship and sacrifices because they were done from a detached and insincere heart. In other words, they performed the physical duties of worship but their hearts were far from God.
How many times do we perform worship from a since of duty rather than as a natural response to a dynamic relationship? Oh, how He longs for fellowship. Read the Old Testament some time and you'll discover how many times He called out to His people in a desire to restore their broken relationship. Quality of worship is directly related to quality of relationship.
How many times do we view worship as something that is for our benefit? How often do we enter in and participate in worship so we can leave feeling better? Our eyes, like the Israel of Isaiah's time, are on the wrong thing. Our heart motivation is off course and self-centered when we approach worship like this.
I'll tell you a secret: worship isn't for us.
Who is worship for, anyway?
God. Because He's worthy of praise, because He's worthy of all our love, devotion, and time. Worship is a select slice of time we purposely set aside to offer Him a sacrifice. Today, our sacrifice may not be of sheep and goats but we still sacrifice. We sacrifice time by setting it aside just for Him. We sacrifice flesh (our bodies) to kneel, raise our hands, praise with our lips, and express thanksgiving. We sacrifice our thoughts by concentrating our thoughts solely for Him during our time of worship. We sacrifice our will by putting Him first and staying to bless Him, to thank Him, to delight His heart.
Worship is more than just a time set apart to glorify and thank Him. Our lives are worship--every single thing we think, feel, and do can be an act of worship. Whether or not we get anything from worship is irrelevant.
Finally, I am struck by one last reality: We don't worship God because things are going well. We worship God because He's worthy.