The Book of II Corinthians is an important book in regards to the Christian life. The book's author, Apostle Paul, wrote the letter to the church of Corinth and to the rest of the Christians throughout Achaia. It was a reminder of what was truly important when living a life of following Christ. The letter outlines details in relation to controversial topics such as spiritual gifts, which had been and were being misused by the Corinthians. II Corinthians is a perfect resource for anyone who wants to dive further into knowing just how devastating the effects of poor church leadership, poor worship practices, and misuse of spiritual gifts are on a Christian's walk with God. Thankfully, Apostle Paul brought plenty of clarity to the church with his letter to Corinth, known as II Corinthians.
Worship. It’s not about you.
One of the most infamous issues that polluted the church of Corinth was selfish ambition and prideful hearts. You can see Paul’s concern for the Corinthians in chapter 12, verse 20 when he writes,
“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.”
Paul had a real case for concern here. If he were to return to Corinth and see a church swallowed up by the above list, well… He wouldn’t find much of a church. It would look more like an angry mob, most likely. Personally, I have seen groups of believers today who have given up godly intentions over to sinful desires like selfish ambition, gossiping, and general disorder. It’s so easy in our modern consumer driven culture to say, “What’s in it for me?” when it comes to our worship. It’s an easy trap to fall into, for sure, but in the end it doesn’t grow us or our relationships with God. This consumeristic approach to worship is, in my opinion, allowing pride into our hearts. As I was doing research on pride and how it effects worship I came across an article titled, “Pride vs. Worship: Pride’s Price” (tearsfromalonelygod). The unnamed writer shared a great insight into this topic:
“I believe in its most basic terms, that pride is the opposite of worship. Worship is an exalting of God, and a humbling of oneself. Pride, which both caused the downfall of Lucifer who then became Satan (see Isaiah 14:12-15), and is arguably God’s most hated sin, is the exalting of oneself over God. In the Bible, you’ll often noticed that pride is described as being lifted up, or high, or raised up in some way; while worship is usually shown in kneeling, or bowing down, or in a number of ways that implies humility.”
Now, I know it seems like I’m focusing on a lot of negative things in this post, but I’m trying to be very intentional about showing you what wrong worship looks like. You can either learn hard lessons yourself or learn them by watching others' mistakes… The latter is what I’m trying to do here. We can see by the faults in the church of Corinth how destructive prideful worship can be.
Worshiping God like He deserves
While Paul did send the letter off to help straighten out issues with the church's worship practice, his mission wasn’t simply to scold them, but to teach them with love. Paul cared about the people of Corinth, and he wanted them to prosper. Pride can rear its ugly head and really hinder us from giving worship to God, but if we can remember the reason we worship Him in the first place, we can eradicate pride in our hearts. True heartfelt worship is the only antidote for pride. I love what Paul writes,
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” - II Corinthians 5:16-21
My Challenge to you this week is to examine your heart for any ounce of pride, selfish ambition, and divisive attitude. As you are searching your heart, remember the above verses. No longer should you view any other believer from a worldly point of view, nor should you be viewed that way either. If selfishness does attempt to creep into your walk with the Lord, you have the power of Christ within you to drive it out! Walk with boldness and courageous love because you have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus, and He has no plans to reverse that purchase.
Exposing Worship in Spirit and Truth,
Recommended Track of the Week: "Sinking Deep" by North Point Worship