The “what’s in it for me?” mindset runs deep.
“We live in a culture that revolves around consuming. Every TV commercial, every store, every credit card company, every bank, every TV show or movie, every piece of clothing, car or product, every website, every restaurant…everything is tailored to fit our desires, needs or personal preference. We are easily infuriated when things don’t happen exactly as we want them to.” We exist in a place that implicitly says this: “We are here to serve you and meet your every whim and desire.”
Obituary for the American Church “How Consumerism Infects our Worship”
Our “what’s in it for me” consumer-driven culture is often brought right into our worship experience. A primary thought for many people as they come before the Lord in worship is, “how will this benefit me? Are my personal preferences satisfied? What am I getting out of it?”
Of course, we would never say it quite like this but, nonetheless, these thoughts present themselves regularly.
If we come before the Lord with the sole intent to get “more” from God, we are then using worship to meet our own needs. It’s me-focused.
If we are not careful our worship can become a subtle form of manipulation using it to get what we want.
Worship is to ascribe worth, to minister to God. Declaring His worth is not about me, it’s about Him. It’s God-focused. This is difficult in light of the consumer-driven culture that lies within those who live in the west (America in particular).
The “Awe of God” Must Proceed “More of God”
In worship, we have to be careful that we don’t replace the “awe” of God (respect mixed with fear or wonder of God) for “more” of God. Asking for “more” is not worship, its a prayer. Can there be a mixture of both worship and prayer in our worship experience? Sure!
For the record, I agree in asking for “more” but not at the expense of “awe.” When our “more” extends beyond our awe, our personal wants become greater then expressing His worth.
Ecclesiastes 5:7 “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.”
Heb. 12:28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,”
Two things we discover about declaring His worth:
- Declaring His worth is not the cry for “more” but the response to awe. I ascribe worth to Jesus, regardless. It’s selfless and God-centered.
- Declaring His worth demands giving honor to the Lord without the thought of getting anything in return. It responds to God in spite of how we feel or think, what we want or desire. It’s worship based on who He is.
Again, it’s counter-culture.
Worship From the Place of Worth and Wonder
In Revelation 4-5, the living creatures and the twenty-four elders are too busy being in awe to be asking for more. The awe of God is sufficient to bring the more of God. Can it be that when we are in awe we will get more, exceedingly more than we can possibly think or imagine? I think so.
Rev. 5:11-13 “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
We have to continually change the way we think in order to step into the fullness of our worship experience. Worth and wonder fill the Prayer Room in heaven and it’s what will keep our hearts alive and in revival on earth.