Breathing Worship

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What should we do when we don't feel like worshiping? 

As man is introduced to the stage of creation and God breathes the first breath of life into Adam, my mind is amazed by what is happening. A man, made of dust, being given the very essence of life by an eternal God. It’s a powerful moment.
 

“Worship is a fundamental and most natural state of being for God's children.”

When we talk about worship, I am frequently reminded of this image of God breathing life into man, and subsequently the first exhale of Adam. Having breathed in the very essence of the life giving goodness of God, I’m convinced Adam’s breath out would have been one of pure joy, vitality and... worship.

Worship is a fundamental and most natural state of being for God's children. It’s the easy response of a renewed and redeemed being as they breathe in His goodness, His beauty, His faithfulness... What we breathe out in response to God—that is worship.

“Gaining heaven's perspective is not to ignore the situation in front of us, merely to gain a higher understanding.”

Don’t get me wrong, I know that the regular complaints, worries and moments of confusion all come tumbling out of our heart and mouths on a weekly basis. Worship can, at times, feel rather distant from our natural state of being. However, as sons and daughters of God, we have the choice to keep our minds conscious that those negative perspectives are not solid truths in our life, merely temporary and inaccurate perspectives colouring the way we see. We simply have to look to the Father to gain clear perspective, to have heaven’s perspective.

Lets take an example: When we take time to focus on our failures, something we all do from time to time, what is produced are feelings of shame—an ungodly emotion that traps and squeezes life out of the human heart. However, gaining heaven's perspective is not to ignore the situation in front of us, merely to gain a higher understanding. In a place of failure, focusing on God sufficiency for us will produce feelings of gladness, a much richer emotion that leads to praise rather than self loathing.

“This is what I love about worship—it has a transformative power to renew our minds...”

King David clearly does this in the Psalms. In Psalm 8 he explains that worship—having a correct perspective and heart attitude—establishes a stronghold against the enemy:

"Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger." (Psalm 8:1-2 NIV)

He then goes on to cast his own gaze on the bigness of God, where his questions about the place and significance of man are answered by looking at what God has established. It leads him to a conclusion that is pure awe and worship.

"Whenever we don’t feel motivated to worship, the problem is never with God."

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:3-9 NIV)

This is what I love about worship—it has a transformative power to renew our minds, taking focus away from circumstantial and temporary concerns, and onto the eternal truths and reality where a loving Father, perfect in love, power and mercy, sits on the throne and never changes.

“Thankfulness [is] the fuel for genuine worship.”

I’m often asked the question, “What happens when you don’t feel like worshipping?” Well lets be honest, it happens! Sometimes my heart takes a while to warm up and remember what it is thankful for. Coming to a worship service at the end of a busy and sometimes stressful week could easily relegate what should be a joyful celebration to just being a few songs we just have to get through on a Sunday. Yet whenever we don’t feel motivated to worship, the problem is never with God. He is still as majestic, awesome, beautiful and loving; worthy of our highest and best, just as He was when we were in a good mood. Not feeling like worshipping is not a complicated problem to solve, it’s about where we choose to fix our gaze.

For the human soul, to gaze upon the beauty of God, taking time to meditate on His Word and reflect on His faithfulness, such things are the very breath of God coming into us. As our physical body exhales and our mind and hearts respond to such revelations, the product will always be profound thankfulness—the fuel for genuine worship.

C. S. Lewis puts it this way:
“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed… If it were possible for a created soul fully… to “appreciate”, that is to love and delight in, the worthiest object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, then that soul would be in supreme beatitude… The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”*

Take another breath today. Remind your heart that it is grace, mercy and the very goodness of God that we are breathing in. And as you breath out, let the worship flow...

*Quote by C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1958), pp. 93–97.