For many Christians, worshipping God has become a repetitive, mundane, boring, and compulsory Sunday routine. We have become complacent, reserved, frugal, and disengaged when it comes to praising God. Many Christians lack the passion to worship and praise God but it does not seem to bother them too much.
The problem is not that we are not capable of showing our passion. When we really want to show appreciation to someone, we are totally capable of doing so.
Therefore the key question we are trying to explore is:
Why are we not worshipping and praising God with the same intensity and passion as we possibly can?
God understands our struggles and He has given us a textbook to show us how to praise Him in the Book of Psalms.
In many psalms, the psalmist would often use passionate words to express their thanksgiving and gratitude towards God. There is this repeating theme of thanksgiving with great passion and intensity in Psalms.
The Book of Psalms shows us that:
“We praise God because it is a natural response to the love of God.”
In other words, “Worship is an outward manifestation of an inward passion for God.”
A woman who had lived a sinful life wet Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed his feet, and poured the expensive perfume over them to show her extravagant gratefulness and love to Jesus. She was so overwhelmed by the love and forgiveness of God that she had to do something. Her gratitude and love for Jesus was on full display. She did not hold anything back. She did not care how the people around her would view or judge her. (Luke 7:36-50)
King David danced before the Lord with all his might while he was wearing a linen ephod. He was so consumed with what all the good things that God has done that he was dancing with all his might to express his heart-felt praise and gratefulness to God. He does not care what other people might view or judge him. David did not hold anything back much like the woman who wet Jesus’ feet with her tears. His heart of worship is on full display, overflowing into passionate dancing and celebration. (2 Samuel 6:12-22)
Christians CAN worship God with such deep passion. We can all make that choice.
Too many Christians are making worship about how they we feel at the moment.
What Eugene Peterson wrote in “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” will perhaps shed some light into this subject.
“Feelings are great liars. If Christians worshipped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship. Feelings are important in many areas but completely unreliable in matters of faith…… We think that if we don’t feel something there can be no authenticity in doing it. But the wisdom of God says something different: …..we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship.”
In other words, “Act first and feelings will come” when it comes to worshipping God. Not the other way around.
Praise is a choice driven by your passion out of deep gratitude for what God has done for us. We ought to let our passion for God drive us to worship Him, even when we don’t feel like it. Feelings are temporary but passion endures.
“Emotion feels. Passion does.” We can sit around all day with our emotions going ups and downs and not get anywhere, but passion will drive us to do something about our circumstances.
Psalms talk about the physical nature of worshipping God all the time.
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! (Psalm 47:1)
Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, (Psalm 66:8)
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Psalm 100: 1-2)
We are to use our whole body to worship God passionately. The physicality of it will bring our heart and soul back into the presence of God even though we don’t feel like it in the beginning.