I know that many of us (and yes I am including myself in the “us”) struggle with living a life of daily worship. It becomes hard and if we are honest, the struggle is real! We often times find ourselves losing in our worship life like the Denver Broncos did in Super Bowl XXIV. We see ourselves as failures, we put pressure on ourselves to “do better tomorrow,” and we miss the joy of living a life of worship on a daily basis.
Why does it matter?
It matters so much because God designed us to worship Him. The primary purpose of man is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever. That, my friends is the reason it matters so much. Some secondary reasons would include the joy we get from worshiping a mighty Savior, knowing that in this life we could do nothing apart from Him. Another reason, He gave us new life…the Gospel never changes…and because of that, even on our worst days when this temporary life is throwing us curveballs, we should still have a song in our heart, and a smile on our face…knowing that the God we worship is STILL IN CONTROL. He knew our entire life even before we were born. Finally, the dying world around us needs to see us worshiping daily saying, “Come and watch, taste this goodness and forgiveness that we are tasting and seeing. Come enjoy what we are enjoying.”
So why do we fail? Why do we fail to do this each and everyday?
I will give you 5 reasons I believe that many Christians are struggling with maintaining the spiritual discipline of living a lifestyle of daily worship. Some of these are areas with which I have struggled, and some are simple observations I have made while in full-time vocational ministry.
1. THE CELL PHONE (tablet/computer/Netflix/whatever vice you turn to each day).
If I may be transparent, there are numerous mornings where I turn to my cell phone first thing –checking sports scores, social media, the weather, et cetera. IT IS NOT THE WAY TO START MY DAY–and it hinders me from worshiping the Risen Savior for the rest of the day. For others it may be your computer or tablet, and yet others it may be Netflix. I recently saw a chart from STATISTA saying that the worldwide subscribers for Netflix has reached 130 million. So, a lot of people are watching Netflix, possibly even you. Netflix isn’t horrible, in fact my family is one of those subscribers. When it becomes bad (being transparent again) is when I binge watch 4 episodes of “Parks & Rec” in one evening and then I am too tired to read my Bible. It also causes me to wake up late in the morning, setting my day into a tailspin. The thing that suffers: my worship.
Many Americans are working longer hours, sleeping less, and eating worse than ever before in our history. Because of all of these reasons, and the addition of little exercise, I believe we are living in a tired society. When you are tired, your focus wanders, your motivation dwindles, and your priorities shift. My suggestion, be disciplined and set a bedtime that is reasonable–no matter what you “have to get done,” make sure you get some rest. Sam J. Sugar, MD, FACP, director of sleep services at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Doral, Florida says,
The idea is that you’re creating a habit that the body then wants to stick to, so it tells you that it’s tired at the chosen time. Many studies have shown that this kind of repetition is self-reinforcing, including one from last year of over 650 retirees that found that going to bed and waking at the same time helped people fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
When we have unrepentant sin in our lives, or worse, we continue to live in our sin it does hinder our worship. As Christians, Satan wants to trick us into believing that sin is not that big of a deal. The Bible teaches differently, stating that sin can curse us, and even lead to death (Romans 6:23). Whenever we give the enemy a foothold into our life it will wreck our lives and at times lead us into believing that we are condemned and not good enough to enter into the presence of a Holy God. Tim Challies says,
Every unmortified sin will do two things: it will weaken the soul and deprive it of its vigor. It will darken the soul and deprive it of its comfort and peace.
We will always be hard-pressed to worship when our soul is so lacking and darkened because of sin in our life.
4. OUT OF PRACTICE.
I remember in the Summer of 2007, I began to coach varsity cross-country and it was the first week of August with temperatures consistently in the mid-90s. I took the position because I had competed at the Division I level in college, and after all it would be easy for me. What I didn’t take into consideration was the near decade of no training since I last competed, and the additional 30 pounds I had gained from the newly-wed meals my wife would fix each evening (plus a few extra Venti Caramel Macchiatos along the way). I paid for it dearly–it was nearly six weeks before I could run 5-10 miles without stopping. My heart would hurt, my lungs would scream, and muscles that I had neglected were burning like the Chicago fire of 1871. But, after staying consistent with this team for 6 weeks I was back in the business of running, and not just running–I was enjoying it! If it has been a hot minute since you last spent your day in worship then as the profound philosopher, Larry the Cable Guy once said, “Get ‘Er Done!” Get after each day, set it as an iPhone reminder to go off each hour, or every 30 minutes. The reward will far outweigh the work. As author Sally Clarkson says,
The habit of coming to God everyday, taking time specifically to seek Him, to listen to Him, to ponder His ways and engage in His truth is the most profound action that will shape your life.
Finally, our lives have become too busy and have caused all sorts of things to become a mess. There are days I need to mow the grass but literally run out of time…and then, of course it rains for the next 3-4 days. Now, I am behind even more because of course the kids have practices, my wife needs to get groceries, the laundry needs to be done, and out of town guests are coming to visit. Will I ever get caught up? My priorities get shifted–I find myself driving home at lunch and mowing the front yard (that is the one the neighbors will see)…I will get the back yard later. Driving back to work I realize my car is due for an oil change….will the busy-mess ever end? Maybe I am the only one that ever experiences days, weeks, months like this…if you aren’t in that boat, I suggest to stay on the shore–life can get messy and busy. But, if we’re honest, this is all of us from time to time. And, this busyness leads to making worship a lower priority. ELEVATE worship to the priority it needs to be–make it first, make it continuous, and make it a lifestyle that you can live in. Don’t let it be in the morning or evening only–let it be you–YOU ARE A WORSHIPER–worshiping the only, true, living God!