Let’s be honest. As Christians, sometimes we just don’t feel like worshipping God. It’s tempting to give some comforting words like, “And that’s okay.” But frankly it’s not okay. Throughout the Bible, we are told to glorify and worship God all the time (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17).
So when we don’t feel like worshipping God, this is a huge problem for us. But what can be done? The answer: dwell on the gospel, meaning the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Feelings Are a Response to What We Think About and See
Sometimes we think that we need to work ourselves up, “Come on Mark, it’s time to worship God, get pumped up.” And it lasts for a few songs, a few hours out of the day, a few minutes into our lunch break . . . but then the feelings fade and I’m just trying to get by rather than worshipping as I’ve been made to do.
And to be clear, worshipping God doesn’t just mean signing songs. Worship means treating someone like God. So when we ask the question, “What should we do when we don’t feel like worshipping God?”, we are basically asking, “How do we find the right motivation to obey, serve, and love God all the time.”
The secret is not to work ourselves up but to always be responding to what we know and see of God. 1 John 4:19 explains, “We love because he first loved us.” 2 Corinthians 5:14 states, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all . . .” True worship is not something we can just randomly produce. It is something that is compelled by the beauty we experience. True worship is always a response to what we see.
When You Don’t Feel Like Worshipping God, Remember the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Throughout the Bible God makes it clear that what we can see and know about Him is what we can see and know about Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:15 says “[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God.”
Hebrews 1:3 explains, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being . . . .”
John 14:9 states, “Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’”
So what we know about God is made clear to us in Jesus. But how do we know Jesus? What’s he like? What we know about Jesus can be seen in the gospel, in the cross and resurrection.
And so the battle is overseeing the truth of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
It’s an interesting way to say it, “the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” I think it’s easier to understand if you start backwards: Jesus is the image of God. So what we know about God we can see in Jesus. But then it goes on to say, “the gospel that displays the glory of Christ.”
In summary of 2 Corinthians 4:4, we know God by looking at Jesus. And we can see the glory of Christ by looking at the gospel. Jesus is the apex expression of God, and the gospel is the apex expression of Christ.
If you want to know God in his most refined expression of himself, we must look at the gospel.
When You “View the Mercy of God,” Worship Is the Only Reasonable Response
So many times we think the gospel is only what we need to start our journey with God; but the gospel should also be what motivates us to worship him every day of our lives. Paul says in Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Paul’s urging us to worship, but he is motivating us with “in view of God’s mercy.” This means we should look at the mercy of God which should then cause us to worship. The King’s James Bible translates “spiritual act of worship” as “which is your reasonable service.” When you look at what Christ did for us, it is only reasonable that we worship him.
If we won’t look to the gospel every day and night, then we won’t understand how awesome and deserving God is of our worship. We will not have the motivation to glorify him because we won’t understand his love.
Jesus came to show us what God is really like. The gospel explains what Jesus is like. Therefore, if we want to have the motivation to please God all of our life, then we must not leave the gospel behind but rather cherish its beauty every day so that we will then have the heart to worship God every day.
So what should we do when we don’t feel like worshipping God? Certainly we should worship anyway. But a more realistic, long-term solution is to address your feelings. When you fully embrace and understand the massive love of God expressed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, you can’t help but feel like worshipping God.