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"I didn't get anything out of the worship time today."  Over the years I've heard people make that statement (or something like it) more times than I care to remember. I guess (if I have to be truthful!), I have uttered the same sentiment (complaint?) more than once in my life.

What we don't seem to understand is that worship is not primarily for us. Worship is for God. The real question is "What did God get out of our worship?" In saying that, I am not suggesting that there is no benefit that flows to us. Of course there is! But that benefit is a by-product, not the primary focus or goal.

One of the great outcomes of true worship is that we are delivered from the deadly pre-occupation with ourselves and our needs. The focus is shifted to the person and presence of the Lord God. The question concerning what we got out of worship becomes irrelevant the more we focus on the Lord.

As best as I recall, there are only two times in the New Testament where God is said to be seeking something. In Luke 19/10 He is said to be seeking the lost. In John 4/24 we are told that He is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

When we realise that God actively seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth, suddenly this question takes on a whole new meaning, "What does God get out of our worship?" In some ways that question is unanswerable. How do we measure God's response? Unanswerable or not, it's a question that keeps the focus where it ought to be and minimizes the self-centredness that so often robs worship of its dynamic.

For my part I believe that the worship of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, is the greatest calling and No.1 priority of the Christian Church. Yes, even before evangelism! Even before social justice. Worship must be given the highest place and everything else will flow from worship. Any faith community that will give itself to worship that honours the Lord will increasingly experience the activity of the Holy Spirit.

Maybe that points us towards the answer to that otherwise unanswerable question. We know God is pleased with our worship because His Spirit becomes increasingly active in our midst and there is an empowering that takes place in the Church.

Why do I believe in the priority of worship over all other Kingdom activities?

More about that in my next post

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