January 20

Worship in Truth

Isaiah 58

KEY VERSE: Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

-- Isaiah 58:6

Some people say they do not go to church because it is boring. And indeed they are right. Many church services are boring and some of us pastors should be ashamed that we conduct worship as though it were a funeral.

But those who have given up on church because it is boring to them need to examine their own hearts! They may have the wrong reason for going to church. They may go to church expecting to be entertained, and that is not a valid reason.

The ancient prophet Isaiah helps us to understand that for our worship to please God, our hearts must be in it! We do not satisfy God by "going to church" one hour a week; what God wants is for us to worship him constantly!

Worship that pleases God is living daily in such a way that our conduct honors God. As Isaiah explains, fasting for fastingís sake is useless. Fasting does not win Godís favor. To fast for such a selfish motive is hypocrisy, the kind that Jesus joined Isaiah in condemning (Matthew 6).

True worship is not sitting in church as though you are the "inspector general," there to evaluate and criticize what others are doing. True worship is bringing your life before God moment by moment and saying with sincerity, "Here am I, Lord, send me where you need me."

Real worship is sharing Godís tender compassion for the poor, the lost, the lame, the blind, the suffering, and saying to the Father, "Where can I join hands with you in ministering to the needy?" Get into a life like that and what happens on Sunday morning at eleven oíclock will become far more exciting than you ever dreamed!