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The Foundation of Our Worship

By: Mark Moore

There is so much on my heart this morning that I’m finding it difficult to know where to start or how to organize my thoughts. During my morning bible readings, if a scripture really stands out to me and I know that I need to meditate on it further, I write it down on an index card. I have a stack of them that I read through from time to time. Today, several stood out and then the conviction of the Holy Spirit began to work on my heart. They all deal with something different, which is why I’m struggling to know what to write…but I know He wants to say something to all of us.

As I’ve been waiting on the Lord, Isaiah 66:2b keeps coming to my mind.

“But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word.”

All of our attempts to come close to our Father begin with humility. An attitude of humility is actually the foundation of our worship. Any worship or offering to the Lord that is brought by something other than a contrite heart is not received. It’s simple. Worship IS an act of humility. It says, “you are everything and apart from you I am nothing.”

Our heavenly Father’s hatred of pride is logical when we consider that Satan’s fall from his position in heaven was a direct result of his pride. Consequently, as our enemy, the basis of his attacks focus on destroying humility. He attempts to infuse us with his pride – but it’s subtle. It’s in the “good things” that pride gains a foothold: family, country, church. He “puffs us up” with our successes, and we encourage it culturally. We take pride in our country and we take pride in our children and we take pride in our local church. It eventually leads to a culture of competition and strife, which in turn leads toward offense, arrogance and a bucket full of other issues and problems. Like I said, he is subtle in his attacks and attempts to pull us away from our Father and His Kingdom mandate. The impact, however, is not so subtle.

It rips us out of His presence.

Most of the time, because of the gentle slope of pride, we arrive at a horrible destination but we feel justified in how we got there. We say things like, “taking pride in our work is important”. Consequently, pride is rarely judged as the cause of a wayward soul. That’s exactly how the enemy planned it.

The Word of God is chock full of scripture that directs us towards a path of humility. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that there is not one single verse where God encourages us to “take pride”…even in the “good things.” In fact, James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem and the brother of Jesus wrote in James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (NASB)

So, when we put our “good works” in the context of James 1:17, we can easily conclude that there is nothing in us, apart from God, that is viable or worthy. There is NOTHING that is good. The prophet Isaiah said, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our wrongdoings, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)

Our Father is not nearly as concerned with our accomplishments as He is with our heart and our relationship to Him. In fact, Jesus put it this way: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:22-23 (NASB)

The implication is quite clear. He’s not talking about unbelievers, He is referring to those that call Him “Lord”, but do not know Him…the ones pursuing accomplishments, recognition and good deeds. It’s pride…pure and simple. Pride keeps us from His Presence, and IN His presence is the only place to discover who He is and to truly know Him. We enter into that place through the door of humility…there is no other way in.

It’s going to take deconstructing some cultural understandings and boundaries. It will require a deep dive into the unexplored waters of humility and abasement. It means releasing our “rights” to be “right” and a willingness to admit that we don’t know anything in light of the eternal.

Don’t misunderstand the intent of this message. I’m not suggesting, in the slightest, that we not execute every activity to the best of our abilities and with Kingdom excellence. I am suggesting that we examine our hearts in the midst of success and achievement that we not become self-absorbed and that we not allow the enemy to take us down that slippery slope of thinking that we are something special apart from God.

I feel most days that I have so far to go and that I’ve not traveled this path of humility very well…it’s a new journey that I find myself on. Maybe you would like to join me. It promises to be quite the adventure with a destination that is more amazing and awesome than anything we’ve ever dreamed.