“God knows how inclined we are to say one thing and do another. That’s why the true test of worship isn’t so much what we say, but how we live.” ~ Louie Giglio; The Air I Breathe
Jesus told this parable:
“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.” But he didn’t go. Which of the two was obeying his father?” (Matthew 21:28-31; NLT)
I sure can identify with the younger son. “Yes, I will go,” and then distraction comes my way. Work is work, and it isn’t always fun. It is so much easier and simpler to sit inside and drink Mountain Dew and play Playstation than it is to go outside and work. Who wants to sweat when you can be comfortable on the couch?
This is the attitude we have with our lives. God has asked us to obey Him, to step outside and to work for Him. We have responded with a “Yes, Lord,” yet we have become distracted and have not done what God has asked us to do. We have lied to and failed the One who has done so much for us.
Obedience is the foundation of worship. Without our obedience all the songs we sing and all the gifts we give are meaningless. Isaiah 29:13 reads;
And so the LORD says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing more than human laws learned by rote” (NLT).The Israelites worshiped God through tradition and ritual, but they failed to live the way God wanted them to live.
Obedience is the foundation of worship because our obedience is an indication of our love for God. Remember what Jesus said in John 14:15? If you love me, obey my commandments (NLT). Our obedience is the reality of the emotion we say we have. What Jesus is saying is: no obedience equals no love. When we are unwilling to obey Jesus it means we do not love Him.
The good news in all of this is that we have a second chance. The older brother in the story originally told the father no, he wasn’t going work in the vineyard. Given time the son changed his mind and went. Our decision to not obey doesn’t mean we cannot start today by stepping out and obeying God. The decision to love God begins with a choice, and that choice is available to us anytime we decide to obey God.
Real worship isn’t about songs or traditions, but it is about obedience. When we obey God and live our lives the way He wants us to live we honor Him. That is what worship is about; glorify God through the way we live.