HINDRANCES TO WORSHIP

   We all desire our worship to be pleasing to the Lord; however, there may be some things present in our lives which hinder the effectiveness of our praise: 

   Unresolved or unconfessed sin.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  It is important to keep “short accounts” with God so that we can be holy, as He is holy.  We cannot worship in spirit and truth when we have unconfessed sin in our lives.  We need to hate sin just as the Lord does; otherwise, we may open ourselves up to hardness of heart.  Our praise can be blocked by “hidden” sin--those things we keep locked away that no one knows about except God.  It is important to continually confess sins, which brings them out of the darkness and into the light.  The fear of God is to hate sin.  

   Failure to fully receive the grace of God.  The enemy hammers at us continually, trying to get us to doubt our self-worth, and indeed, our very salvation.  Stand on God’s promises!  The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit.  Defeat the enemy with it!  

   The fear of man.  Many of us are more concerned about what others think about our worship than whether or not God is pleased with it.  God’s presence continually refreshes us unless we allow our self-consciousness (fear of man) to intervene.  Our concerns about those around us keep us from being sensitive to the Holy Spirit in worship.  Continually ask the Lord, “Father, what pleases You?”  If it seems good to raise your hands to the Lord, then praise Him with this offering.  If you feel led to kneel before Him in worship, then honor Him by obeying the Spirit.  Don’t do these things because you are caught up in emotion, or because others are doing it.  Make your only desire be to please Christ.  The traditions of men often supersede the desires of God, which hinders our worship.  Sometimes God is willing to offend the mind of man in order to reveal His purposes.  Always remember that His ways are higher.  

   Soulishness.  Jack Deere said, “God does not appreciate what we initiate.”  We should not worship out of our good intentions.  If something is begun in the power of the Holy Spirit, it should not be continued or promoted in the flesh.  There is a great difference between the power of the soul (our mind, will and emotions) and our spirit (the part of us which knows God).  Our spirits are the way we relate to God.  The Holy Spirit dwells in our spirits.  Sometimes we allow our souls to have more weight than our spirits, which then makes the power of man more dominant than the power of the Holy Spirit.  We should allow the Spirit to dwell richly within us!  Worshiping God in the flesh does not honor Him.   

            Adapted by Kim Butts from a conference on worship offered by John Elliott, 1995.