Isaac Watts, the great hymn-writer once said:
The Great God values not the service of men, if the heart be not in it: The Lord sees and judges the heart; he has no regard for outward forms of worship, if there be no inward adoration, if no devout affection be employed therein. It is therefore a matter of infinite importance, to have the whole heart engaged steadfastly for God.
It’s been said a time or two that what we love most will determine what we genuinely worship. If others were to assess your greatest “loves” what would they say? Be honest. Your children? Technology? Your career? Fantasy Football? The third season of Scandal?
In Matthew 22:37 Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Bob Kauflin in his book Worship Matters states:
God wants us to love him more than our instruments and music. More than our possessions, food and ministry. More than our wife and our children. More than our own lives.
Jesus didn’t say that we can’t love anything else or that we shouldn’t love anything else. But, we can’t love anything in the right way unless we love God more. Otherwise, our desires will be out of whack. We’ll look to temporary pleasures (like concerts, video games, and sports) to fulfill eternal desires. We’ll love things that aren’t worthy as God to be loved.
Matthew 22:38 continues the thoughts of Jesus as he states, “This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Perhaps God actually knew what he was doing by making this the first commandment. Perhaps he knew our propensity to wander from him and our need to be reminded of where our focus must be.
Isaac Watts identified worship as a matter of “infinite importance.” Is the worship of God of infinite importance to you? What do you love the most? What do you spend your most time doing? What do you spend your money on? What do you fear losing the most?
When our answer is genuinely “God” we’re beginning to grasp the heart of true worship.