Easter is just a few days away, and as we begin to
contemplate the magnitude of Jesus' gift for us, we are brought
to our knees in worship.
But what kind of worship do we
bring to Him?
Last Tuesday, in WHAT KIND OF WORSHIPPER
ARE YOU, Part 2, we took at the look at the selfishness that so
often motivates our worship. Today's lesson will look the second
type of worshipper: Those who worship God because they are
afraid not to!
Is this a constructive way to worship God?
We have all had authority figures in our lives who we have
been just a little afraid of. It might have been a teacher, a
boss, a manager, a doctor, a pastor, a scout leader or coach,
or, as is so often the case, a parent or a spouse or some other
close family member. Take a moment and think back to your
relationship with that person. Did you obey them?
than likely you did, at least up to a certain point.
Because you were afraid not to.
And when you finally
broke free of that person's grasp, you might have demonstrated
just a tiny bit of rebellion, at least for a while.
did you really love that person?
And what of respect? Did
you truly respect that person?
You see, when we serve
someone out of fear, we miss the mark. We cannot truly love and
respect those we are afraid of. And the longer we serve out of
fear, the angrier we become, and the more we lean towards
So what does this have to do with God?
It is exactly the same thing with our worship.
I grew up
believing that God was a God of love, but I was also taught that
I had to do certain things to "earn" this love, and if I didn't
earn it, there would be eternal consequences. As a result, I was
afraid of God. I understood that He saw my every move, and He
knew how often I "slipped up"!
Did I go to church?
Did I pay my tithe?
study my special lesson book prepared by the church I was raised
Yet despite the fact that I did
all of those things, I never felt like I matched up.
decided it was because I wasn't doing enough. I started actively
participating in my church. I became a children's leader, the
drama leader, even a church elder! I wrote children's programs
and plays, even sermons.
All for the same
motivation: I was afraid not to!
But where was the peace
of mind that I craved?
I'm sorry to say it continued to
So I sent out on a new journey. I began
religiously trying to keep the 10 commandments. I put new rules
into my life, regulations, guidelines. But no matter how hard I
tried, I was only the more and more painfully aware of how far I
was from succeeding!
As time went on, I became more and
more afraid of God. I realized that I couldn't stop myself from
sinning, so how was I going to look good in God's eyes? And as a
result, so many times I just wanted to throw in the towel. If
none of my efforts brought me peace of mind or assurance, then
But stories of God's disfavor had been so
impressed upon my mind that I was afraid to stop trying.
So where did I go wrong?
The answer lay in the motivation
behind my worship. I was worshiping God out of fear, and this
fear didn't bring me into a relationship with Him. It couldn't!
Just like our fear of the authority figure that we have had in
our lives never served to build love and respect for that
person, worshiping God out of fear will work against the
relationship He so desires us to have! It leaves us angry and
frustrated, because nothing we ever do to appease that fear is
ever good enough!
But God isn't a God of fear: "For
God has not given us a spirit of fear. . ." (1
Tim 1:7a). Instead He is a God of power and of love: ". .
. But of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2
Tim 1:7b NKJV). God's first priority is relationship. We
were created for relationship, and as long as our motivation for
worship is fear, we will never know the true, loving, kind
nature of the One who willingly gave His life for our sin.
With Easter just a few days away, I would encourage each of
you to examine your motives for worshiping God. Do you do so,
even in the tiniest way, out of fear? If you do, then you are
denying God the most important thing He died on that cross to
accomplish: A personal love relationship with . . . YOU!
But wait a minute: Is fear of God such a bad thing? After all,
we are told to "fear God" (1
Peter 2:17)! In fact, the term "Fear God", along with its
counterparts, "Fear Him", "fear of the Lord", etc. are found
numerous times is the Bible!
Let's find out as our study
of true worship continues! Join us on Saturday for the
conclusion of WHAT KIND OF A WORSHIPER ARE YOU, Part 4:
Worshiping God the RIGHT Way: In Spirit and in Truth.
Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Speech-Language Pathologist,
Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to
Christian devotionals and inspirational poems,
with Answers2Prayer Ministries,
(To access the entire "What Kind of a Worshiper are
You?" mini-series, click