flattery or worship?

I hate to admit it, but I found myself trying to flatter God recently rather than genuinely worshipping him. “What’s the difference” you ask?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines flattery this way: “excessive and insincere praise especially that given to further one’s own interest”.

The Scripture concurs. Psalm 12:2 warns that, “flattering lips speak with deception” (NIV), and Jude 1:16 reveals our true motive for flattering others; we do so, “for the sake of gaining an advantage”. (NAS) The Hebrew word most often translated flattery literally means “smooth” and conveys the idea of being “a slick talker”, or, buttering people up to get what we want.

So, back to my situation. I was beginning my day with a time of worship. I had read the Scripture and a devotional guide and then it was time to pray. My plan was to pray my way through the Lord’s Prayer. I began with “may your name be honored”. As I began to tell the Father how wonderful he was I realized I was simply mouthing words I had used countless times before and that some of my recent actions and attitudes did not bear witness to the fact that I believed what I was saying. It was as if the Holy Spirit stopped me mid-sentence and asked, “Do you really think I am that gullible?” I was reminded that God wants those who worship him to do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24).

There is a lot of discussion as to what that really means but, based on a story found in Isaiah 6, here is what I know for sure – – True worship gives us a fresh glimpse of God (verse 1). As we continue to press in, worship gives us a fresh glimpse of ourselves, as God sees us (verse 5). If we go to the next level, worship continues the process of transformation in our lives (verses 6, 7), and that should be the goal of every Christ-follower.


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