Worship Words

Posted on August 1, 2015 · Posted in Worship

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

These are words from the hymn, “When I survey the wondrous cross.” No doubt you have sung them before. If you have been a Christian for a while, perhaps you can even sing these words from memory. However, think carefully about what you are singing.

For example in the words above, a declaration is made before man and God that nothing you have accomplished, no possession you have attained, no human success can compare to what Christ purchased for you on the cross.

Really?

Do you live this way? Do those who know you best understand that the honor of Jesus Christ is the most important thing in the world to you, more than your car, your house, your marriage, your most significant accomplishments? Your spouse, your children hear you sing these words. Do they think you mean them with all your heart?

You are standing before God in worship and telling him and all those standing around you that Christ is your highest priority. God is the heart knower. But, even with this knowledge, you and I can be foolish enough to come before God with words that mask the thoughts of our hearts. We can speak and sing words that make us acceptable, even pleasing to others, while we hide the reality of our angry heart. Are you really prepared to pour contempt on all your pride?

Worship words are dangerous words if they are only for people to hear. In contrast David asked God that the words of his mouth would be consistent with mediations of his heart. He prayed that the words of his mouth and the thoughts of his heart would be pleasing to his God. If you and I are not moved to consider Christ in a new and profound way by what we say and sing, then we must ask God for a repentant heart and so that our worship is more than just words.

Don’t be like the children of Israel who became comfortable with worship words.

And so the Lord says,
    “These people say they are mine.
 They honor me with their lips,
  but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
  is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
Isaiah 29:13

Rediscovering Family Worship

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.