What does it mean to worship God? Karen Wolff of Christian-Books-For-Women.com shows us that we can learn a lot about worship simply through relationship with God. In "Are You Seeking God's Face or God's Hand?" you'll discover a few keys to opening God's heart through praise and worship.
Are You Seeking God's Face or God's Hand?Have you ever spent time with one of your kids, and all you did was just "hang out?" If you have grown kids, and you ask them what they remember most about their childhood, I would bet they recall a time when you spent an afternoon participating in some fun activity.
As parents, it sometimes takes a while for us to discover that the thing our kids want most from us is our time. But oh, time always seems to be the thing we find in short supply.
I remember when my son was about four years old. He attended a local preschool, but it was only a few mornings a week. So, almost constantly I had this four-year-old who wanted my time. Every day. All day.
I would play board games with him in the afternoons. I remember we would always claim to be "Champion of the World," whoever happened to win. Of course, beating a four-year-old isn't exactly something to brag about on my resume, but nonetheless, I always tried to be sure the title passed back and forth. Well, sometimes.
My son and I both fondly recall those days as very special times when we built a relationship. And the truth is, I had a hard time saying no to my son after building such a strong relationship. I knew my son wasn't hanging out with me just for what he could get from me, but the relationship we built meant that when he did ask for something, my heart was more than willing to consider it.
Why is it so difficult to see that as a parent, God is no different?
Relationship is EverythingSome see God as a giant Santa Claus. Simply submit your wish list and you'll wake up one morning to find that all is well. They fail to realize that relationship is everything. It's the one thing God wants more than anything else. And it's when we take the time to seek God's face - which is simply investing in that ongoing relationship with him - that he extends his hand because his heart is open to hear all we have to say.
A few weeks ago I read an amazing book called, Daily Inspirations for Finding Favor with the King, by Tommey Tenney. It talked about the importance and relevance of Christian praise and worship in building a relationship with God. What impressed me was the author's insistence that praise and worship must be directed to God's face and not his hand. If your motive is to love God, to spend time with God, to truly want to be in God's presence, then your praise and worship will be met by God with open arms.
If, however, your motive is to try to earn a blessing, or to impress those around you, or even to fulfill some sense of obligation, you've missed the boat. Completely.
So how do you know if your relationship with God is centered around seeking his face instead of simply his hand? What can you do to make sure your motive is pure as you praise and worship God?
- Spend most of your time with God in praise and worship. Letting God know how much you love and appreciate him never gets old to God. In fact, praise and worship is the key that opens God's heart.
- Come to God just as you are with an open heart. Letting God see all that's in your heart, good or bad, lets God know that you value your relationship enough to let him see it all and do whatever he needs to do.
- Look for opportunities to offer God praise and worship in things around you. All you need to do is see a beautiful sunset or one of the many other wonders of nature to offer God praise and thanksgiving for that miraculous blessing. God appreciates a grateful heart.
- Don't be afraid to show God how you truly feel as you worship him. There are those who don't feel comfortable raising their hands or showing any emotion during worship services. Yet those same people can be found at sporting events or concerts whooping, clapping, and hollering as if it really mattered. I'm not saying you have to jump up and down or shout. Simply standing with open hands shows God that your heart is open and you want to feel God's presence.
And most importantly:
- Don't judge, look down on, or criticize someone else because they want to show emotions and energy as they worship. Just because an expression of worship is different than your own, doesn't mean it is inappropriate or wrong. Concentrate on worshipping God yourself so your focus remains on building your own relationship with God.
But remember, like a parent, God is looking for that ongoing relationship. When he sees your open heart and your desire to get to know him for who he is, his heart opens to hear all you have to say.
What a concept! Seeking God's face and then feeling the blessings from his hand.
Also by Karen Wolff:
• How to Hear from God
• How to Share Your Faith
• How to Be Less Stressed and More Christian at Christmas
• Raising Kid's God's Way
Karen Wolff, a contributing writer for About.com, is host to a Christian Web site for women. As founder of Christian-Books-for-Women.com, she wants to provide Christian women with a place to find practical information, tips, and help with a variety of issues they face every day. For more information visit Karen's Bio Page.