Why do you worship God? Is it out of a sense of obligation? Is it due to the benefits of worshipping communally such as making social connections? Maybe our reasons are more theological: we worship the Lord because he saved us from sin and death. While this final reason is sound and good, it isn’t the ONLY reason we worship God. We worship the Lord, not simply for what He has done, but for who He is. Psalm 18 speaks to this:
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him” (Psa. 18:30).
The perfection of God—that is one of the central reasons we worship him. We worship Him because He is perfect in love, wisdom, truth, power, knowledge, and goodness. If there were any imperfections—any character flaws or shortcomings—within the Lord, there would be no reason to worship Him (at least not with the devotion that scripture demands).
This should bring us great comfort. We know that, as we seek to pour out our heart before God, we will never be disillusioned by his failures (for He has none). How many times have we placed our trust in men, praised and elevated them before others, only to be greatly disappointed by some moral sin? We excuse such behavior by saying, “They’re only human”; yet we never quite look at the person in the same light. Suddenly we recognize their frailty, their sinfulness and selfishness, and realize that they are—in fact—no better than us.
But God is better than us; infinitely greater and transcendently purer than any of us could possibly imagine. The Lord always makes the right decision, always chooses the right people, always outthinks the opponent, always uses his power wisely, always does what is good, right, merciful and true. When we are captured by the perfection of beauty (Psa. 50:2) praise immediately springs forth from our lips. Similar to when we are struck by an exquisite piece of art or are enraptured by a beatific vision of nature when we turn the bend, our outbreak of adoration is only natural.
Of course, this means that, for the church to truly worship “In Spirit and truth” (John 4:24), we must see God as He is. We can’t possibly worship the Lord as we should until we are caught by the beauty of his character. In other words, we must learn to love God with the entirety of our being (Deut. 6:4); to devote every affection, every intellectual endeavor, every bodily enterprise to love of God. This will take an entire lifetime—an eternity in fact. For worship is the ultimate expression of love; and without love worship is simply flattery.
And God doesn’t need to be flattered (or worshipped for that matter). Yet in order for us to live meaningful lives, we need something to adore and praise; something—someone—who is absolutely perfect in all of his ways.