Appears to Meet the Specs

God frequently reveals the priorities He has for us, and it is very common for us to make alterations. He says what He wants, we give Him something else that we think He might be happy with instead.

The Lord regularly told the Israelites that He desired their obedience rather than their offerings (Hosea 6:6); Psalm 50:8, 14-15, 23; Proverbs 21:3). Those sacrifices were, of course, sacrifices that He Himself had commanded them to make. But the sacrifices were to be an act of obedience, not a substitute for obedience.

It is just as likely for us to offer up something to the Lord that appears to meet the specs. It is not just possible, it is likely that Christians often consider their attendance and participation in corporate worship as something that pleases God, which it is, but only as we are worshipping Him in all the ways He wants.

Jeremiah Burroughs wrote,

You worship God more by [contentment] than when you come to hear a sermon, or spend half an hour, or an hour, in prayer, or when you come to receive a sacrament. These are the acts of God’s worship, but they are only external acts of worship, to hear and pray and receive sacraments. But this is the soul’s worship, to subject itself thus to God. (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 120)

He continued by pointing out the power of our being pleased with what God does.

in active obedience we worship God by doing what pleases God, but by passive obedience we do as well worship God by being pleased with what God does. (.ibid)

Maybe you have done all the things you think you needed to do this week. But have you been pleased with all the things that God has done in your week? Pleasure in His work is worship.

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