When My Worship Is All About Me

When My Worship Is All About Me

I stood in the worship service, hands lifted as music filled me. Emotions swirled in those moments: love for the God who first loved me, gratitude for both life and eternal life through Jesus, a sense of awe at the presence of the Holy Spirit. The speakers rattled just a bit as the volume of the music rose, my thoughts were lost in the chords and phrases. Worship is a sacred place for us to return our focus and our affections to our Savior.

The pastor took the mic and prompted us to pray. I whispered just loud enough for my own ears to hear. “God, help me… Lord, change me… Father, transform me…” I snapped my head up and dropped my arms. In the time it took to move from the bridge of the song to the final chorus, I shifted the focus of my worship from God to myself. While my prayers weren’t wrong, they were audible evidence that my worship was all about me.

Do you find it difficult to keep your thoughts about God about Him? Or, like me, do you begin to consider what the power of God can do for you?

This selfish worship is more the rule than the exception for me. I find it difficult to focus on the greatness of God without moving into a thought pattern leading straight to my own greatness. My pride flourishes in these moments of misdirected worship. My raised hand becomes a “pick me, pick me!” cry for attention.

Pick me to receive Your power. Pick me to be your messenger. Pick me to be great among Your witnesses.

I compare my self-centered response to the holiness and greatness of God to that of Isaiah. Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and lifted up. The angels stood on stage with a microphone in one hand, and the other hand raised high to the King of kings. Their song echoed through time and space, every note pitch perfect.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isaiah 6:3, ESV

Standing on trembling ground with smoke covering his view, Isaiah drops his pride and posture to respond. “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:5, ESV).

Worship

When confronted with the holiness of God in worship, how can I have any response other than repentance? How dare I stand with arms raised trying to catch God’s attention. 

God sees Isaiah in this low position, lips blistered from the cleansing (see Isa. 6:6-7). God, who extended the grace of forgiveness, now extends the mercy of a calling. He invites Isaiah to go to the people on behalf of the Trinity. Only after the calling does Isaiah volunteer himself for attention. “Here I am! Send me” (Isa. 6:8, ESV).

When the focus of our worship is the favor we can receive, it becomes self-worship. When our praise turns to pleas for attention, our gaze shifts from the Lord to our lives. However, when we consider the holiness of God and acknowledge our humanity, He is glorified. We are then open to receive the cleansing touch of the burning coal. We are made ready for the call to go.

Lord, I am a woman of unclean lips and an unclean heart. After a glimpse of your glory, I tend to turn my praise inward. Forgive me for my pride. Forgive me for my tainted worship. Hold my gaze firmly on You. I lift my hands to you in surrender and in awe. It’s all about You, Jesus. It’s all about You.

Find more thoughts on worship on Suzie Eller’s #livefree link up.

Photo credit: William White and Jazmin Quaynor via Unsplash.

20 Comments

  1. Beautiful, Kelly. May I be a woman whose focus remains on God. Good to be your linkup buddy today at Crystal’s place. Thanks for sharing. ((grace upon grace))

  2. This is a great post, one we desperately need in our society. I love that once we are free of ourselves in worship, it doesn’t matter what the music sounds like, we can worship Him no matter what! Thank-you for sharing!

  3. Yes.
    The heart is so deceitful, and you’ve brought the light of truth into the dark places of our deception. Thanks for this reminder of what a true heart of worship means.

  4. Great insight, Kelly. Thank you so much for sharing what God is teaching you so that we may also learn from Him.
    “when we consider the holiness of God and acknowledge our humanity, He is glorified.” Amen!

  5. Love this! I am guilty too, but glad to be more aware of when I start doing it. So glad He is loving, kind and patient with us as we grow!

  6. Amen, Kelly! Let me keep my eyes firmly on Jesus.
    Thank for sharing, friend. : )

  7. such a great reminder!!

  8. Absolutely lovely reminder. Beautiful!

  9. Amen! Well said, Kelly. As a worship leader for my church, I’m challenged every week on how to lead others into the presence of God. It’s not about me. It’s not about them. It’s about Him!

  10. Kelly, the song “Get to the heart of worship – it’s not about me, it’s not about me.” Pride raises its ugly head during worship. Look at me! My arms are up. My voice sounds good. My My My…. oh God help us all. Neighbor #55 at Winter’s.

  11. Great post full of truth. Our natural default is ME. I could very much relate to your description of moving from worship to focus on me.

  12. Kelly, I so agree. Our thoughts have to remain on Him not on ourselves. Thanks for sharing! God Bless!

  13. Kelly,

    I am convicted and motivated by your words. This portion especially stood out to me, “When the focus of our worship is the favor we can receive, it becomes self-worship. When our praise turns to pleas for attention, our gaze shifts from the Lord to our lives.” I struggle with this as well and am grateful to know that I am not alone. Sometimes just recognizing our habits or patterns is the first step towards finding freedom from them. Thank you for sharing with us at #livefree Thursday.

  14. Guilty! Sometimes when I’m singing worship songs I focus on my voice instead of the gift of my song. Thanks for this lovely piece.

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