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Coming back to the heart of worship

Every Wednesday and Friday, students flock across campus to Christ’s Chapel to partake in praise and worship, followed by a message from a speaker. But during praise and worship, something strange happens.

The crime isn’t revealed when the students are scrolling on their phones or standing silently. No, it can also be found in the mouths of men and women who are actively singing and jumping and praising, but it’s a crime that none of us want to commit. Unbeknownst to us, some of the sounds we are uttering are absolutely and irrevocably selfish and self-centered.

Junior Elizabeth Bazan put it this way when asked about worship: “You can have worship without music and you can have music without worship, but the beauty of God’s majesty comes when the two are combined.”

“So how,” you might ask, “can it be self-centered when my heart is in it?”

Worship can be self-centered when we sing more of our love for God and how it will bene t Him. e simplest answer lies within the words of the song you are singing. It only takes a second to step out of the zone and really listen to the words of a song. It bears remembrance that God doesn’t require our praise to survive. He isn’t a God that gets XP points for every song we sing to Him and thus, becomes more powerful. A worshiper should declare that he loves the Lord because of all the good things He has done for us.

While worship is a pleasing aroma to the Lord, keep in mind Jesus said the Father seeks true worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). e popular song “Above All” is beautiful… until you examine the real words in its last line “You took the fall/and thought of me/ above all” — which is utterly man-centered. Pastor John Piper took that line to task: “He thought of his glory above all on the cross . . . . God always thinks of himself above us. He is always more important than us.” While the Bible does say Jesus had His people in mind — i.e., Galatians 2:20, “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” — we were certainly not “above all”.

Combatting self-centered worship begins on the ground floor: your heart. When writing a song, ex- amine your work for self-centered ideals. If you see more “I” or “me” than “Lord,” you may have a problem. Also, when singing in chapel, don’t focus so much on sounding like Kari Jobe and focus more on making it personal. Worship from the heart is true worship, and that’s what pleases the Lord: True and honest praise and worship.