Q: Shouldn’t everyone simply go to the type of church that they like best?
Suggested Daily Reading: 1 Kings 12:26-33
A: Imagine a guy who is attracted to a girl. She has accepted his past invitations and they have really enjoyed their time together. Her birthday is approaching and he wants to give her a special present. He loves dogs. When visiting a bookstore, he is impressed by a beautiful, expensive book with gorgeous photographs of all types of dogs. With warm emotions, he buys the book and has it specially gift-wrapped for her. The problem, however, is that she hates dogs. His gift flops. What is the problem? This young man made a serious mistake. When selecting his gift, he focused on what he liked and not on that which would please his girlfriend.
This same mistake is made when considering church worship. We gather together on Sunday to worship God, not ourselves. My focus is to be on God, not on me. What God prefers and delights is to be the primary focus of my worship, not that which I might like. People can be sincere, but sincerely mistaken in this matter.
Jeroboam made this mistake. You can learn about this from the daily reading listed above. To fit his own preferences and conveniences, and according to his own judgments, he chose and established a different place and manner to worship God. We know, however, that again and again it is repeated in Scripture when describing kings of Israel, “For he walked in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger” (I Kings 16:26).
What type of worship is most pleasing to God? This is the best question to ask. And how can I determine this? From His Word. Study His letter written to you, the Bible. Do not add anything to it or take anything from it. Seek for and value God-focused, Christ-exalting and Word-centered worship. Worship where the congregation demonstrates humility, reverence, child-like fear, joyful obedience and delight in praising God. Such worship is pleasing to Him who deserves all honor and glory, both now and forever.
When you go to church worship services, is your primary focus more on God, or on yourself? On how you can best give God the honor and worship he deserves, or on what you personally like? Why is this meditation increasingly applicable to Christians in today’s western culture?