“The Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.”
1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)
When Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart and soul” (Luke 10:27) he meant that worship must be genuine and heartfelt. It is not just a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say. Heartless praise is not praise at all! It is an insult to God.When we worship, God looks past our words to our hearts. The Bible says, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.”
Since worship involves delighting in God, it engages your emotions. God gave you emotions so you could worship him with deep feeling, but those emotions must be genuine, not faked.
God hates hypocrisy. He doesn’t want showmanship or pretense or phoniness in worship. He wants your honest, real love. We can worship God imperfectly, but we cannot worship him insincerely.
Of course, sincerity alone is not enough; you can be sincerely wrong. That’s why both spirit and truth are required. Worship must be both accurate and authentic. God-pleasing worship is deeply emotional and deeply doctrinal. We use both our hearts and our heads.
Today many equate being emotionally moved by music as being moved by the Spirit, but these are not the same. Real worship happens when your spirit responds to God, not to some musical tone. In fact, some sentimental, introspective songs hinder worship because they take the spotlight off God and focus on our feelings. Your biggest distraction in worship is yourself – your interests and your worries over what others think about you.
Christians often differ on the most appropriate or authentic way to express praise to God, but these arguments are usually just personality and background differences. Many forms of praise are mentioned in the Bible, among them confessing, singing, shouting, standing in honor, kneeling, dancing, making a joyful noise, testifying, playing musical instruments, and raising hands.
The best style of worship is the one that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the background and personality God gave you.
(an extract by Rick Warren)