Empty Worship

“ Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. ”

Haggai 2:13-14

Our pastor recently preached this passage during Sunday morning service, and I was convicted by this message. I have spent most Sundays of my life in church, excluding a period of time when I was out on my own and treated the day like “Sunday Funday”. I know it is easy to get out of church as one missed Sunday leads to many others, and pretty soon you are out completely. I do look forward to being in God’s house on Sunday, but my motives have not always been the best. Even now, I sometimes miss the point of why I am there as I sometimes treat it as a duty instead of coming to worship my King.

There are many who attend church to check it off a list of things they must do in order to maintain a good “spiritual” standing. They come through the doors tired from the previous night that went in to the early morning of very day of church. Their singing is more like a whisper, and they need a neck brace during the service as their heads bop up and down as if they were at a rock concert. If you go to lunch with these folks, they would struggle to hold a conversation about what the message was about as they really did not hear much. They leave the back doors of the church the same way they entered them and their heart is still full of what it was when they entered the building.

There is no true worship in their heart, but church is merely a social event that makes them feel better about their standing with God, even though it has no positive impact. The Bible tell us in Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” God is not fooled by our empty worship, and He is always concerned about the heart and not the actions and rituals we go through. You do not have to look hard to see some scrolling through Facebook during the service, and I have even heard the ESPN alert going off during the preaching. I have been guilty of checking a sports score, and I am convicted that this takes away from the true reason I am at church. I am not here to play church, but I should be preparing my heart for what God would have for me. The worship of our King needs to start well before we even get ready to go to church, and we should not treat it as if it is optional. True worship requires a heart that is aligned with God, and not a heart that only seeks to check it off their list of things to do on any given Sunday.

This passage speaks of how we come to worship with unclean hands and defiled hearts. We think ourselves spiritual when we are far from it. God sees our motives and preparation, and He truly knows who comes with a heart prepared for worship and who comes to appease themselves or others. God is worthy of true worship, and we need to be prepared to worship Him much like a sports fan who shows up at a sporting event prepared to take in the festivities of the game.

Where are you today friend? Do you come to church prepared to worship your King? Do you come with unclean hands and leave with an unclean heart? Do you ask God to speak to you? Do you praise Him for all that He has done in your life? Do you go to honor Him or do you attend to be seen by others and check it off of your list? Do you attend a church that participates in empty worship or is the church you attend honoring and pleasing to God? May we not forget that God is not mocked, and He truly know our motives and our purpose for worship. James 4:8 states, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” May we draw close to Him and may our hearts be clean and singleminded as we go to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Stay in the Fight!

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