There are many, many songs being written and sung in praise and honor of God, of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Our hands are raised, sometimes we sing with tears, the words are right, but does God receive our praise? I think that it depends on how we live. Do we live in obedience to him?
More than the sacrifice of our lips, God demands obedience, complete obedience. In one account in the Bible, Saul, Israel’s first king, was told specifically what to do, but rather than obey, he decided to offer what was to be destroyed in sacrifice to God. Samuel the prophet responded:
Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.1 Samuel 15:22 esv
The key part of that verse is that obedience is better than sacrifice. If that is not the case, God’s response to our “Praise and Worship” might very well be this:
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.Amos 5:24 ESV
But our music is beautiful, you may say. We work hard to get the sound just right, but do you believe that God would tell you after all your efforts, your tears, “take away from me the noise of your songs”? Yes!
Jesus tells us in John 4:24 – “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” God knows our hearts. While we praise him with our lips, our lives must also be such that it is one that brings honor and glory to the Lord. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the sound, how sincere one may be, if our lives are devoid of obedience to him, it is just like a noisy gong or clanging cymbal that the Apostle Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13:1. God called us to be set apart from the world, so that the light in us from him draw others out of the darkness.
We cannot fool God. We must walk in a manner that pleases the Lord. Ephesians 4:1-2 Did you know that the Apostle Paul’s letters were always to the church or concerning the church? He was always trying to correct them, to bring them back to the truth. He tells the church in Rome, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Romans 6:1
Don’t let your walk down the aisle inoculate you from examining yourself to be sure that you are a Christian, to be sure that you are born again. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
The Apostle Peter says it another way:
Therefore, believers, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you [be sure that your behavior reflects and confirms your relationship with God];2 Peter 1:10a AMP
When we are born again, we are given hearts that love what God loves, and hate what God hates. We hunger and thirst for God’s word, because we know that in it is our guide for honoring and pleasing God. When we are born again, we recognize that we are not our own, but that we have been bought with a price, a great price. (1 Corinthians 6:19) That price costed Jesus his life. He paid our sin debt in full.
So those of us who are believers must present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. What is acceptable to God is laid out in his word. We are not like the world. We don’t conform to the world’s system. (Romans 12:1-2) The world calls good evil and evil good.
When we recognize that we are servants of the true and living God, we live for him in obedience. We recognize that we must put to death what is earthly in us, and our lives must bear the fruit of righteousness. (Colossians 3)
This is when we worship God in spirit and in truth, and God receives our praise.