Guilt is rarely a good motivator. We may be “guilted” into doing something, but usually respond by doing it with the wrong attitude. However, 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” We can fool others by our good works, but God looks at our motivation. That’s why when it comes to giving, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7), and when it comes to worshipping, “…sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your heart to God.” (Col. 3:16).
With our Heavenly Father, it’s always a matter of the heart … and that’s good news! Why? Because serving God out of a sense of guilt, duty and obligation is exhausting! We can do it for a while, but eventually the best will fall away. Only when we serve out of a deep expression of gratitude to the Lord is our strength able to soar on wings like eagles (Is. 40:31), and will we find His compassion new every morning (Lam. 3:23).
Please allow me to share just a personal comment – I loved all four of our Easter worship services. Even before each worship experience began, there was a great sense of expectation, because we came prepared to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. It was fantastic! However, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the worship among our church members even more the following weekend! That’s because I knew that all who came were motivated by an attitude of gratitude that transcended far beyond one worship experience on Easter Sunday.
The death and resurrection of Christ should cause each of us to be filled daily with awe and wonder. The guilt of our sin makes us aware of our need for a Savior, but it is the awareness of God’s mercy and grace which makes our hearts respond in thankful obedience and worship. Praise is the most natural response to what Christ has done on our behalf!
Our church’s mission statement includes a goal for us to experience worship, which “emphasizes the anticipation of God’s Spirit moving in our midst.” We want to be a witness each week that we are a group of people who celebrate the power of Christ’s resurrection in our lives. This is our heart’s joy and motivation.
He is Risen!