I’m just not emotional”…we’ve all heard that before, or, maybe you are the one saying it. The first and most obvious reason for lack of emotion toward God is that many don’t have a strong relationship with Him…people have religion but not a true relationship. For this reason, Jesus states, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8). A.W. Tozer adds, “Millions of professed believers talk as if [Christ] were real and act as if He were not. And always our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk.” Do your actions reflect your words? We must be desperate for more of God…desperate for obedience to truly know Him.
It’s been said that one of the greatest mission fields in the world today is the United States. This is largely because awe and respect for the Lord have been forgotten in America. There’s very little brokenness and humility today. We have turned salvation into a gimmick rather than a narrow road. We’ve made Jesus a butler rather than a King. We come to God asking, “What can I get,” instead of “what can I give?”
Additionally, many are not willing to give up besetting sin (the “little” vice that keeps us bound). This could be a bitter, angry attitude, or a lust that keeps tripping us up. Sin is serious; it was because of sin that Christ went to the cross. Sin separates us from God; it stands in direct opposition to Him; it corrupts our character and our testimony; it prevents holiness and quenches and grieves the Spirit within. In the words of the famous hymn writer Isaac Watts, “True Christianity, where it reigns in the heart, will make itself appear in the purity of life.”
Psalm 96:9 says that we should “worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Sin crowds out holiness and devotion to God. Of all the attributes of God described in the Bible, holiness is seen most often. Men fell down in the holy presence of God. Leaders, priests, and kings all trembled at the sheer magnitude of His holiness. The angels cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy is our God” (Isaiah 6:3). Holiness is the key to truly hearing God’s voice. Please don’t misunderstand, we all fall short…arriving at a state of perfection will not happen on this side of eternity, but we should strive to honor God, avoid sin, and repent when warranted. “Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth” (Psalm 96:9).
Sadly, pride prevents us from truly worshiping God. Men are generally not worshipers because they are caught in the “tough guy syndrome.” Twenty years ago, I laughed at those who worshiped God, seeing it as weakness. But the opposite is true, all great men of God worship Him. We conveniently hide behind the excuse that we’re not emotional, but we express anger very well…is anger not an emotion? Men get excited about sin and lust. “I’m just not emotional” is a cop-out designed to cover our lack of worship…a lack of engagement with God.
With skewed vision, we can wrongly label those who worship as “emotionally weak,” or “fanatical.” Keep in mind that this is coming from a man whose father was raised on the farms of Oklahoma. I can still remember his words as a small boy when I was injured, “Boy, you don’t cry.” This article is not being written by an emotional loose cannon or a highly emotional writer; I was taught to hide my emotions…that they are a sign of weakness, so they say. But after God radically changed my life, worship came naturally.
Do you suppose that Jesus was a man without emotion for the things of God? Worship is an outpouring of attitude and acts focused on reverence for God. The Hebrew meaning denotes a “bowing down, or prostrating oneself”; it is a posture reflecting homage and reverence toward the one true and living God. If there is a problem with worshipping God, the problem isn’t with God, the problem is with us. Worship serves as the thermometer of the heart that measures our spiritual condition…are we hot, cold, or lukewarm? Worship isn’t measured by actions; it’s measured by the condition (temperature) of our heart—is it rejoicing for joy and submitting to God?
Those in desperate need of worship are often those who are “too busy” during the week…“too busy” during church and “too busy” at home. And they stay busy to avoid worship. Busyness is the sworn enemy of worship. Isaiah reminds us that those who “wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength…” (40:31).
We find hours for entertainment, but have little time to worship. Do we honestly believe that this misapplication of priorities doesn’t affect us? Think again. Take time this week and run to His grace…run to His forgiveness…run to His love…run to His peace that all occur through worship and repentance (cf. Acts 3:19).
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. He recently released his 7th book, Desperate for More of God. Shane’s sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at www.WCFAV.org. Follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/confusedchurch.