Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. —Psalm 29:2, KJV

Worship that is pleasing to God has several characteristics, the first of which is insight: the awareness of God that precipitates and inspires the worship. Next there is integrity: the ability of the worshiper to come before God in truth, with his whole being and nothing held back. Then there is indebtedness: the sense of our debt to God. Fourth, there is a sense of inadequacy: our inability to express the depth of our feelings toward God. Charles Wesley could only say:

O for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer's praise. —Charles Wesley, "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," public domain

This quality of worship is possible only through the Holy Spirit. You cannot worship beyond the level of your insight. And you get that insight by the Holy Spirit. A feeling of indebtedness is proof that you realize that your insight is from God. A sense of inadequacy will also determine the quantity, or length of time, of your worship. You feel you must keep on trying to express your love and need of God. And this will continue throughout eternity. For we will always be unable to express our debt to God because we are in heaven and not hell.

True worship exposes our imperfection. It matters to God that we should see how imperfect we are. One of the most painful, as well as, usually, one of the last things we discover about ourselves is that we are self-righteous.

Our greatest joy and pleasure is to be found in God alone. So much of what is pleasurable in this life has to be shared with somebody else in order to be fully enjoyed. Even if we had tea with the queen, much of the joy would be in sharing what we had experienced. But the joy of being in the presence of God alone is the greatest joy there is, and it does not need to be shared.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).

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