Last Lord’s Day I attempted to challenge us all to consider this time of worship and how we determine what is best by thinking much less about our own personal preferences and far more about what would please the LORD. I was challenging the modern notion of church consumerism and marketing for the purpose of church growth.
This idea, however, can lead some to a ditch on the other side of the road, and that is the ditch of Stoicism: I am here to worship God and it does not matter at all how I am feeling about it. This is not all about me and therefore my emotions, my heart-felt gratitude, my personal delight, has nothing to do in measuring the appropriateness or correctness of the worship of God. That is a ditch. That is as wrong as thinking that God doesn’t care about the details of our service as long as we sincerely experience deep feelings of satisfying worship.
And that is why I appreciate the phrase coined by John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” He also suggests that we slightly edit the answer to the first catechism question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “What is the chief end of man?” to, “The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever.” This works so well with the Psalmist who writes, “In thy presence is fullness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures forever.”
God isn’t interested in disengaged, unfulfilling worship before Him any more than He is interested in self-centered self-worship with some Jesus-words sprinkled in. What He intends to do, what He gives us and works in us – and He does so here by means of His Holy Spirit through the Word and sacrament – is to bring praise to the graciousness of His glory, a glory warm with satisfaction in Him.
None of that occurs without God-given faith – faith that “sees” when there is nothing the eyes of flesh can see, faith that hopes when there is nothing to hope in – but the promises of God. Come and receive that faith; or come and have that faith strengthened more and more in the terrifying and satisfying presence of God the Father. Come in Jesus’ name. Come in the power of His Holy Spirit.