What Kind of a Worshiper are You? Part 1: Worshiping for Personal Gain -- By Lyn Chaffart

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 week, in WHAT KIND OF WORSHIPPER ARE YOU, Part 1, we saw that there are three types of worshippers: Those who worship God for personal gain, those who do so out of fear, and those who worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

Today's lesson takes a look at the first type of worshiper: Those who worship God for personal gain.

We are all familiar with this kind of attitude. It characterizes the culture of our society. It's all about, "What's in it for me?" We see this on TV, we see this in our children, we see this in our business transactions, in our banks, even in our credit card companies.

Not convinced? Then why do so many stores in North America offer you rewards for shopping there? Because they know that if there's something in it for you, you will be much more likely to buy from them!

And what about the credit card companies who offer you back 1-2% of your purchases for airmiles or free groceries or points to be used in their store? And then there are the insurance companies who promise to pay for disasters to our homes, cars, even lives, all for the tidy yearly sum we pay them.

Let's get more personal. We often do things to manipulate the actions of others for our personal gain. You know what I mean. Its performance appraisal time, so we go out of our way to be nice to the boss, and to make sure he or she is aware of our hard work. Or you know that a manager is angry at you, but you want him or her to approve of your newest idea. So you have a co-worker approach the manager about it.

And what about in our church lives? We so often give of our tithes and offerings for the personal gain that is promised to us. Or we sing in choir because we have a nice singing voice and we want the church to know it. Or we submit stories to the church publications because we want to see our name in print.

But wait. We're talking about earthly things. This doesn't include ALL worship!

Or does it?

Why is it that we turn so much quicker to God when we need something than at any other time? If we completely and thoroughly examine our prayers, we will find that they usually are comprised of selfish requests: "God, keep me safe!" "God, take away my nosy neighbor!" "God, give us a new position at work so that I can be permanent full-time instead of casual!"

True, sometimes our prayers aren't quite THAT selfish. Sometimes they go like this: "God, I'm so tired today, but I have a 12 hour shift! Give me the strength and energy to go on!" Or "God, I am very susceptible to that temptation! Give me victory!" Or "God, I can't carry this burden anymore. I give it to you!"

"Wait a minute," you say. "You make it sound like asking God for things is wrong! Doesn't the Bible tells us to bring our petitions before Him?"

Yup. Absolutely: "you do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2 NKJV).

But what is our motive for bringing our requests to God? Do we ask Him out of love and worship? Or is there a small part of us that does so for personal gain?

So many times I've had people tell me that God has abandoned them because He hasn't yet answered their prayers. Are we truly worshipping God with our prayers, or do we see Him as a great, big Santa Claus?

Let's see what else James has to say about why our prayers aren't always answered: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:3 NKJV)

Friends, God delights in giving to us because He loves us. Our motivation for worshipping God should be for the same reason: Because He loves us! Not because of what we can get out of it!

Take a moment now to contemplate just how huge the Easter sacrifice is: Jesus suffered more than we can possibly imagine.* Isn't that, in itself, worthy of our praise? Shouldn't we worship Him simply because He is worthy of our worship?

With Easter just a few days away, let's take a few moments to examine our worship. Let's ask God to reveal our true motivation. If you find even the tiniest bit of selfishness in your worship, would you join me today in repenting of this, and in resolving to worship God for the only reason that He is, oh, so worthy?

Join us next Thursday, in WHAT KIND OF WORSHIPER ARE YOU, Part 3, for a look at another false motivation for worship: Fear!

In His love,



Lyn 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, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.

(To access the entire "What Kind of a Worshiper are You?" mini-series, click here.)