I hear the phrase “true worship” a lot. I’m not really sure how exactly that is defined, or who comes up with the measuring scale of what is “true” worship or not, so that’s always bothered me.
Currently, one of my favorite worship songs is “Close” by Hillsong Young & Free. Part of the lyrics in the bridge always have stuck out to me:
“My sole devotion, my only focus … to worship You.”
When we sing it at church, that’s the part where I find myself getting excited, raising my hands, and singing loud. If I’m being honest though, it kind of makes me feel like a phony. Not many of us can honestly say that our sole devotion and only focus is to worship Jesus.
So does that make us liars? Impostors? Hypocrites?
I think worship is something we do out of hope, not necessarily our current reality. Sometimes wanting to want the things of God is a huge step. Wanting to believe is a big deal.
We don’t like to talk about that in church or with our friends, because I think as Christians we’re afraid of gray areas. We feel that everything must be black and white, as if there’s no room for doubt or disbelief.
In Mark 9, a man brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus, and this is what happens:
21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:21-24 (NLT)
I think that sometimes when we sing and lift our hands during a worship song, we’re not doing it simply because it’s true, but because we want it to be true. We do believe, but we need help with our unbelief, just like the father of the demon possessed boy.
You don’t need to believe fully to worship whole-heartedly. In fact, our doubt often begins to disappear when we decide to worship in spite of it.