The Difference Between Worshiping God and Worshiping Worship

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought7 Comments

“Idolatry happens when we take good things and make them ultimate things.”  ~Tim Keller 

“One mark of Christian maturity is being easily blessed.”  ~Unknown

“Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  ~Psalm 139:23-24

The following comparisons are convicting.  These observations have risen to the surface of the boiling pot of my own ministry, and I’ve probably got a story for every one of these.  (Half the time, the stories will be about me and my own wandering heart.)  You may not agree with all of them, but they certainly help get to the heart of the matter.  They convict me.  At one time or another, I have been guilty of crossing the line into all of these.  Truth be told, for followers of Jesus, “worshiping God” versus “worshiping worship” is less an issue of either/or and more an issue of both/and.  Christians who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them and yet still fight the “sin in our members” know that even our best praise is mixed with some idolatry.  May God continue to root it out and make us more wholeheartedly devoted to Him.  Lord, have mercy.

Worshipers of God prioritize God’s glory and pleasure in worship.
Worshipers of worship prioritize “being fed” in worship.

Worshipers of God care less about their personal preferences in worship.
Worshipers of worship care intensely about their personal preferences in worship.

Worshipers of God are more easily blessed in worship.
Worshipers of worship are more easily bothered in worship.

Worshipers of God approach worship as instruments and vessels.
Worshipers of worship approach worship as appraisers and evaluators.

Worshipers of God tend to approach their pastors and worship leaders more often with words of encouragement and thankfulness.
Worshipers of worship tend to approach their pastors and worship leaders more often with words of criticism and admonishment.

Worshipers of God more instinctively flex when elements are out of their comfort zone.
Worshipers of worship more instinctively bristle when elements are out of their comfort zone.

Worshipers of God are inspired by beautiful art to love God more.
Worshipers of worship are inspired by beautiful art to love beautiful art more.

Worshipers of God easily overlook and forget glitches and “errors” that happen in worship.
Worshipers of worship fixate on and can’t get past glitches and “errors” that happen in worship.

Worshipers of God tend to leave a “good” worship service loving God more.
Worshipers of worship tend to leave a “good” worship service loving worship services more.

Worshipers of God tend to leave a “bad” worship service loving God more.
Worshipers of worship tend to leave a “bad” worship service bothered.

Worshipers of God tend to leave worship with a renewed sense of awe and thanksgiving.
Worshipers of worship tend to leave worship ready to dialogue about what worked and what didn’t.*

 

*An important tweet from @iwsfla (Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies) clarifies that this distinction (and probably others above) may not pertain at all times to those who plan and lead worship.  Evaluation is, indeed, helpful for leading and planning worship.

7 Comments on “The Difference Between Worshiping God and Worshiping Worship”

  1. I couldn't agree with these more. When worship is "God-Focused", nothing else matters. Even in the "worst" of worship services (people off-key, technical problems, etc….), we should be pressing in to the Father… Not relying on the team to get us there. The team provides a platform for worship, (with the leader, of course, at the steering wheel and following the Spirit of God). The same goes with styles, and so on.
    Thanks for sharing. May we ALL be check our hearts and attitudes in worship.

  2. Our church is doing a short series on the 'meaning' of things. Interestingly, this Sunday is "meaning: worship." You provide great anonyms for folks to see the difference between worshipping Father and not. Thanks.

  3. I mentioned you, your pastoral position, your blog, and this post Sunday. I read it too. There were some 'ah-hah' faces in the crowd. Nice work, alliteration, and revelation. Keep it up bruddah.

  4. I think these are all poor excuses of differentiating who is worshiping music and who is worshiping God.

    I still don't get how people say some churches worship worship.
    yet when they complain about this, they really don't give a CLEAR example how churches are worshiping worship:/

    i think it is more to do with jealousy, or not liking other churches attitude.

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