If Your Worship Isn’t Costly, Is It Really Worship?

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Person in white blouse with hands folded on Bible

Our culture has become so saturated with a consumer mindset, that it is hard for us to comprehend giving of ourselves without first calculating what risk it might mean.

We want to make sure that whatever the cost may be, it is a worthy investment, and we will get a greater return than we invested in the first place.

The temptation is that we approach our relationship with God with this same mindset.

We say that Jesus is Lord, but we submit only to the degree that we don’t feel much pain; and we make sure we hold back those things that we really enjoy, because we don’t want to risk giving up too much.

We don’t want to give more of ourselves than we think God will give back to us.

But what we see in Scripture is a kind of sacrifice that is so radical, so lavish, so costly that reading about it makes us uncomfortable.

When Abraham led Isaac up Mt. Moriah to sacrifice him on the altar to God, he had no clue that God would provide a ram, and yet he was willing to sacrifice his only child – the one and only child God had given him through his wife Sarah as a fulfillment of His covenant.

When we think about this in a modern-day context, it horrifies us.

What loving, God-fearing parent would be willing to kill their child for God? What kind of God would demand such a horrible thing?

Clearly, God never intended for Abraham to actually kill his son, but he did want Abraham to fear Him more than he loved his son.

Hannah gave her firstborn son, the son she wept for and longed for for many years, to be raised in the temple.

Again, in modern-day context, it makes us cringe to think of a mother relinquishing custody of her child for God.

It makes us recoil to think of doing such a thing!

David risked his reputation as a king by dancing unceremoniously in joy before the presence of the Lord. And we sometimes find it hard to raise our hands and sing out loud in church.

All of the apostles, except John, gave their very lives for the gospel. Paul was also martyred along with countless Christians in the early church era.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

Hebrews 11:35-40

In theory, we boldly state we would also give our lives for Christ, but in reality, we find it hard to walk away from our favorite TV show when convicted.

We often find it hard to get up Sunday morning for church when an obligation had us up late Saturday night.

We find it hard to set our alarm 20 minutes earlier each morning so we can have our devotions before getting started with our day.

In Scripture we see a level of worship that is so costly that it requires everything you have – your very life, if need be.

It requires that we utterly bankrupt ourselves, throwing ourselves at the very mercy of God, trusting that if we don’t see a return in this life, that there will be an eternal return.

Do we trust God this much?

In reality, when we close our earthly eyes and allow God to show us ourselves with spiritual eyes, we understand that we are already bankrupt, even before we risk everything for the sake of the gospel.

We are bankrupt without any hope of getting out of it, apart from the blood of Jesus.

Anything we sacrifice to Him is what has been given to us to give back to Him.

And when this realization hits us, we see how utterly arrogant it is on our part to calculate the cost of our worship to God.

We’re taking what He gave to us, for the purpose of our costly worship, and holding some of it back because we’re afraid of giving too much of ourselves to Him.

It’s more than arrogance, it’s robbery.

This week we began a new Good Morning Girls study in the book of 2 Chronicles.

Right off the bat, we read about Solomon’s costly love and devotion to God. It begins with Solomon offering God a sacrifice of 1,000 burnt offerings.

That must have been incredibly costly!

Because Solomon didn’t hold back in his worship to God, God visited him and asked Solomon “Ask! What shall I give you?”

Solomon, still not thinking of his own comforts and personal desires, asked for wisdom to lead the people of Israel.

Solomon held life with open hands, ever giving, never sparing.

And because he refused to count the cost of his worship to God, God blessed him to the point that he became the richest king in history.

But Solomon’s luxurious worship is not yet over. He then begins to build the temple his father David had wanted to build; and no expense was spared.

Every detail of the temple was according to the plans God had laid out, but far more luxurious than what the Israelites had in the desert.

Solomon refused to hold back.

All of the money, all of the gold, all of the jewels, all of the linen, all of the workers and artisans he hired; these were all given him by God.

He wasn’t giving to God anything that God hadn’t already given him first.

He understood that whatever he could give to God, he was really giving back to Him.

Dear sister, what is God asking of you today?

Have you been holding back from Him? Have you been calculating the cost of your worship to Him? Have you been afraid that if you give too much, there won’t be anything left for you?

Are you afraid that if you give God everything, you will lose your comfort, your joy, your sense of satisfaction in life?

We forget that our comfort, joy, and satisfaction only come from God.

We can only feel true comfort, joy, and satisfaction in His presence, when we’ve given him our luxurious worship, refusing to calculate the cost to us; knowing that in doing so the blessing of that sacrifice will splash back on us in glorious blessing.

Worship isn’t really worship if it’s not costly.

We aren’t truly disciples of Christ if we aren’t willing to do what Jesus said, “Forsake all you have and follow Me.”

So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Luke 14:33

What is it in your hand that Christ is asking you to lay down today?

Lay it down today, pick up your cross – the life of full and complete surrender to Christ and His will for your life – and then you’ll find true comfort, joy, and satisfaction.

You’ll find life!

Other Articles on 2nd Chronicles

If Your Worship Isn’t Costly, Is It Really Worship?

How Much Sin is too Much Sin?

How to Prepare Your Heart to Seek God

Compromise Will Cost You Everything

5 Ways to Respond to Spiritual Decline

Are You Ready to Live in Total Victory?

What Happens When We Push God Too Far?

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