Pure Worship Motivated by Love is a guest post written by Kari Jobe. After being established as one of the industry’s premier worship leaders with her Dove Award-winning, self-titled debut, Kari Jobe continues to serve as a worship pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, and released her highly anticipated follow-up album, Where I Find You (Sparrow) in January of 2012.
“Pure” and “love” are not two words that we often put together. Maybe it’s because most of the love we experience is anything but pure. As flawed people, we rarely love without somewhat impure motives. We have probably all loved someone because we wanted something from them, and I’m sure we’ve all been loved because someone only wanted something out of or from us.
We often feel we have to earn someone’s love by training ourselves to give them what they want. Unfortunately, this kind of love isn’t pure at all, and it doesn’t come close to reflecting God’s true heart.
We are so used to performing and trying to impress the people we want to love us, that we treat God the same way. We go around and around in circles trying to make Him happy without ever stopping to consider that maybe His love is really, truly, pure – without any selfish or deceptive motive. Maybe God doesn’t want anything from us except us.
I love the story of Mary and Martha. To me, it perfectly capture’s God’s pure love. Martha worked so hard to get every little detail right for Jesus. Whether she realized it or not, she was trying to impress Him and earn His love. She thought He cared about how perfect, clean, and comfortable His visit to her home would be. She didn’t realize that His love was so pure, the only thing He wanted was to spend time with her and her sister.
Because Martha thought His love was impure, her response of love back to Him was impure. It was all about performance. However, Mary understood His deep, pure, love for her. Her loving response of sitting at the feet of Jesus and spending time with Him came from a heart that had grasped His pure love for her.
I do wonder sometimes, though, if we view our worship the way Martha viewed her housework. Do we ever worship God like we’re trying to impress Him? It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our worship has to be just right before God will meet with us.
When we worship this way, it can become about formula. It can lead us to idolize our songs and focus too much on what we’re singing and how things sound without a real heart connection. Don’t get me wrong, I love worship songs, and I definitely have my favorites. However, I want to make sure that I really mean the things I sing and that my worship is just not a formulaic effort to win His love.
In John 4:23, Jesus says, “…the time is coming and is already here when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way.”
This verse tells me that God wants our love and our worship towards Him to be pure. I don’t know about you, but when I’m striving and stressing to impress someone and make them love me, well, that’s not really love. It’s performance, and it’s not exactly what I would call pure.
The Lord wants our honesty and truth. He wants our hearts and spirits to be completely connected to what our mouths are saying to Him and singing to Him. He wants our pure worship.
The only way for our worship to really be pure is for us to receive His pure love. We must realize that no matter what, He loves us. His love is completely pure. He does not love us because we can give anything to Him or do Him any service. He loves us without an ulterior motive. He simply loves us for us and wants us to know Him.
We cannot earn His love because He has already given it to us! That’s absolutely incredible to me and makes me want to worship Him and give Him all of my love.
When we focus on how good He is and everything He has done for us, like Mary, we can focus on spending time with Him and not just doing things for Him. We can hear Him, listen to Him, and experience His affection for us. Only then we can respond in worship to the Lord and exalt who He is over every other name and every other circumstance, giving Him our pure love as we receive His.