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Isaiah 29: 13       NIV

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

This passage presents us with an interesting question. Is worship really worship if our hearts are not engaged? How can worship be meaningful to God if we are caught up in rote service rather than an expression of our hearts?

It is so easy to become accustomed to the form of worship such that we never really enter into it meaningfully. How well do I know this myself? Even as I prepare these daily devotionals I am reminded that if they come from my mind they are of very little use to those who read them. Many times I sit down at my computer, Bible in hand and begin the “work” of the Word of the Day. To an outside observer it may look like I am fulfilling the call of ministry on my life but I know that I am being works minded instead of worship oriented. So, I must stop and start over.  

This daily devotional should be a form of worship for us both. We each should approach it with an expectation of meeting God heart to heart. In order for me to convey God’s heart to you, I must begin with prayer and I suggest that is how we should approach any form of worship. We should begin with God on our minds and engage in a process of opening our hearts to be a heart of worship. Worship which proceeds from our minds is not worship at all. It is only an exercise, barely even a shadow of worship. God makes it clear in today’s passage that worship of our mouths is nothing. Only when worship is an overflow and an expression of our hearts is it welcoming to God. I would go so far as to say that anything which is intended to be worship but which is merely from routine and mental assent is repugnant to God. He is looking for us to pour our hearts out to Him. He is not in the least interested in the structure of our worship services. He really isn’t even interested in what many of us call a worship service. He is only interested in heart felt worship. He is looking for a people who will greet Him with expression of their deep feelings for Him. He wants to hear our hearts cry out, “I love you Father.” In fact, I truly believe that He would rather have one heart felt “I love you” than 30 minutes of singing and praying that is little more than a prayer concocted in our minds and songs that are little more to us than a page number in the Hymnal.  

We all have our routines. Our churches and our church services have their routines too but we must not let rote words and symbols become substitutes for a heart that expresses admiration and adoration of the Father. Whatever we do whether in our private lives or in our corporate praise services we should remind ourselves of the reason we are entering into a form of worship. When we connect again with our hearts and get out of our minds we will flow with pure expression of love for the Father. That is worship; that is what is important. That is the heart of the matter.

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