Guest writer: Sue Weaver

Okay, here’s the unvarnished truth, right out loud: worship had become kind of an un-word to me. Vestiges of deep and satisfying still cling to it, but it mostly it really means Sunday morning church music. Which is nice, but not deep and satisfying.
So this third chapter in our summer reading, a chapter on worship, really grabbed my attention. Right on the first page of the chapter it says, “…worship has to do with real life. It is not a mythical interlude in a week of reality. Worship has to do with adultery and hunger and racial conflict.” (77)
This chapter is all about should-be-deep-and-satisfying! “Both the teaching of Jesus and the Holy Spirit satisfy the longing of our souls’ (page 79) and  “…true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine. Strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone and marrow of biblical worship.”(82)

Piper examines at the nature of worship as an affair of the heart (pages 83-102) and as an affair of the mind (pages 102-109). In the ‘heart part’ of the chapter I gathered up so many good thoughts. I learned

  • that where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead (86);
  • that the human heart is supernaturally, radically changed in Christian conversion and the evidence of this is not just new decisions, but new affections, new feelings (89);
  • that saving faith treasures Christ (90);
  • that in the end the heart longs not for any of God’s good gifts, but for God Himself (87);
  • that the real duty of worship is the inward duty, the command to delight yourself in the LORD! (94)
  • that the joyful heart is a mirror that catches the rays of His radiance and reflects them back in worship (94)
  • that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever (94)
  • the heavens are appalled and shocked when people give up soon on their quest for pleasure and settle for broken cisterns (98).

I circled and put stars beside these words in the ‘mind part’ of the chapter:

  • True worship does not come from people whose feelings are like air ferns with no root in the solid ground of biblical doctrine. The only affections that honor God are those rooted in the rock of biblical truth. (102)
  • Christian Hedonism is passionately opposed to all attempt to drive a wedge between deep thought and deep feeling. It rejects the common notion that profound reflection dries up fervent affection. It resists the assumption that intense emotion thrives only in the absence of coherent doctrine. (104)

I love the exhortation (and experience) Piper shares at the end of this chapter. He says, “Don’t let your worship decline to the performance of mere duty. Don’t let the childlike awe and wonder be choked out by unbiblical views of virtue. Don’t let the scenery and poetry and music of your relationship with God shrivel up and die. You have capacities for joy that you can scarcely imagine. They were made for enjoyment of God. He can awaken them no matter how long they have lain asleep.” (108)
Wow! Worship doesn’t seem like an un-word anymore!

Guest writer: Sue Weaver