"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:5)
According to the Exodus story, the people of Israel had seen countless miraculous things that God had done to ensure their release and survival from slavery and through the dead empty desert. You'd think they would naturally be overflowing with worship, but that wasn't the case. Instead, Israel groaned and griped that this new life of "daily reliance" required too much trust and vulnerability with an unknown future ahead. God had daily provided for them, and yet they daily forgot, even rejected, God's goodness towards them. This is why their story would have many twists and turns in the desert. Instead of growing more faithful, they grumbled.
What would it take for them to love God with all their hearts?
When I first became a Christian, I didn't really understand how to worship God either. I sang songs on Sundays, and tried to be "Christ-like" in my outward actions, but my heart wasn't willing to follow God's plans if they weren't already mine.
I didn't understand that worship had to begin with growing closer to God in a relationship, and inviting Him, even in the struggles of life, to transform my heart. (Ezekiel 36:26-27). When I finally allowed God to speak into all the dark corners of my life, I finally understood the depth of the Gospel and what true worship really was about.
Worship essentially is the eager and proper response from a heart won over in gratitude, adoration, reverence, repentance, obedience, trust, and desire for more of God.
I think the passage in Deuteronomy 6 is what true worshipful living was meant to look like, not just a heartless command for perfect outward actions. We live for and obey God gladly because we are captivated by Him in immense love.
Daily worship leads the heart to a faithful life, but sometimes we need to lead our hearts to choose God.
Let's be honest, there are moments when we struggle to give all our efforts and devotion to God. There comes a point when we have to choose God regardless of how much "love" is in our hearts (Romans 12:1-2). Trusting God is part of that transformative process that not only builds our faith and character stronger, but deepens our relationship with God. We are meant to invite Him into those difficult moments, by drawing close to Him in prayer, in the Word, even through Christian community, so God can work within us. However, even if we still fail, God's love will always be bigger and He is always willing to give us the grace to begin again.
How perfect God is towards us! He truly deserves endless worship.
See part of this post, along with some of my work, featured on YMI.Today titled "The Art of Worship".