Many times in my career, I’ve heard people use some key phrases:
“I can’t worship like this.”
“I didn’t get anything out of worship today.”
“I feel like worship was dead today.”
What causes people to say these things?
Admittedly, sometimes there can be a glaringly huge distraction from the stage or elsewhere. Maybe people got distracted by a worship leader with the capo on the wrong fret (guilty). Maybe it was 2,000 degrees in the auditorium and it just got physically difficult to follow. However, far more often, it is a symptom of a spiritual or theological problem. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most common I have seen.
You created an idol
In John 4:21-24, Jesus talks about worshipping in spirit and in truth. He specifically references the fact that soon, it won’t matter where people worship. The religious authorities had valued the place of worship above the object of worship. Christians do this ALL…THE….TIME. Really, think about it.
“I can’t worship with that music.” “I can’t worship here.” “I can’t worship with (or without) [insert idol here.]” Constantly we are unsatisfied with the God we worship. We require other things. We require nostalgia. We require the newest gear and tools. If we stripped all that away, could you still worship God? If not (or if you feel like you’re not worshipping now because of one of the above), you’ve created an idol.
You have distractions
Unconfessed sin is one of these distractions. Yes, God knows what you did. But it’s highly therapeutic (and Biblical) to talk to Him about it. If you don’t, it can greatly distract you from true worship.
Here’s a tough one: Unresolved conflict. Christ knew how big of a distraction conflict is. So, in Matthew 5:23-24, He even talks about how you should resolve conflict before even presenting your worship. Left unresolved, it will distract you from worship. Not could, not might….WILL.
Coming in with the wrong perspective
Many people walk into their worship with the wrong perspective. They enter personal and corporate times wondering only what God will do for them.
They wonder what God will bless them with. How many times they’ll get goosebumps. How many times they’ll get an emotional rush. The flip side of that is that many people come in expecting nothing. We should worship without expecting anything in return, but we should also know that worship will bring us close to God. And every time you get close to God, you must expect to be changed. The problem is often that people come in expecting to be blessed or affirmed that their walk is perfect. Then, when God corrects, they shut Him out. When that happens, the door is shut to true worship.