Honest Worship, Honest Life

4572427358A.W. Tozer once said, “Christians don’t tell lies – they go to church and sing them.”

Like you, the phrase caught me off guard. But when given to deeper thought, I realized it was true.

Let’s start with the basics. A popular verse found in many Christian songs is, “I lift my hands and I sing.” (If I cited that, I would run out of room on this post.)

I know I’ve never once had my hands in the air as I sang that verse.

Oh, we can justify it all we want by saying things like, “But it’s my heart that I’m lifting up.”

Bull. God knows the difference between your heart and your hands. He also knows the difference between security and insecurity.

What about song verses like, “I lay it all down for You.”

There aren’t many times I’ve repented from things after singing songs that make those bold statements. In fact, not sure if I ever have.

Here’s the thing. We’re so concerned with looking spiritual, we’re willing to live lies in order to come across as having it all together.

Not trying to toot my own horn here, but I don’t have it all together. In fact, I’m a mess. A spiritual, emotional, (sometimes) physical mess!

There are two types of places I’ve worked at. One was corporate. The other local.

In the corporate setting, these managers did everything right and by the book. They checked and double-checked everything off their lists that they were supposed to do. They dressed properly, they blushed if they cursed, they obeyed the rules.

Until they thought no one was looking.

First, they gossiped. (That’s how I learned about all the rules they broke on a daily basis.) Online shopping on the clock, not clocking off for lunch, “borrowing” some cash from store funds, engaging in inappropriate affairs with their employees, passing their jobs off to others, shirking duties, and the list goes on.

But you’d never know it by talking to them.

Then I’ve worked for a local place, where the “corporate office” isn’t but half a rung higher than the managers on the proverbial ladder.

These guys smoke weed, curse like sailors, cheat on their taxes, and I’d not doubt for a minute that a handful of them served time.

But you know which group I like better? That’s right – this right-winged fundamentalist Christian would much rather hang out with the rap-popping, weed-smoking, beer-happy “sinners” than the uptight, stiff-necked, hypocrites of the corporate place I worked for.

Why? Because at least these rough necks aren’t hiding anything.

They’re unashamed: “Here I am; take it or leave it… foo’!”

These guys are easier to witness to. They’re not going to get all over you for being politically incorrect or cry foul to the boss because you offended them. They might not admit they need help or change in their lives, but they’re also not likely to say nothing’s wrong with them and that every thing’s fine.

But I tell you. I’m such a mess myself. I do lie every time I sing, “I give You my all,” because honestly, I don’t. I just don’t give Jesus my all. That hasn’t happened before.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t worship. I’m not berating you for singing such songs, and declaring such promises. I’m just at a point in my life where I feel dishonest singing them.

I need to get to a place where I am actually doing such things as “giving my all,” and “taking up my cross,” and being brave enough to raise my hands (only for the attention of God), and then I’ll have a better, more honest, transparent worship time.

Then maybe it will make it easier for Jesus to come minister to me. Heaven knows I’m such a mess that I need it.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

13 thoughts on “Honest Worship, Honest Life

  1. I think that our ‘giving all’ is a life-long journey. Sometimes, in the moment, we do give all and then minutes later we may be taking some back. It’s human. If it were literally possible to be consistent, would it not be unnecessary for Christ to have given his life?


  2. You are so right. I’m the same. I actually stopped singing some of the verses because I don’t lift my hands or give him my all. I know many people that are too fixated on looking like theyre a good christian so they go to church and youth clubs linked to the church but as soon as they come out…they start to gossip about people and be rude/make plans to go out to clubs and say they just want to find a guy (and try it on with so many guys just because ‘they look good’) I won’t lie, I don’t have it all together and I do gossip every now and then but, I want to get to a place where I can be more secure and actually give him my all. I know as I am now, I am not good enough and need to dedicate more to God.


  3. You have articulated the crux of the matter that is so well laid out in Romans 7 & 8. But thanks be to God that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    Romans 7:25 “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” Romans 8:1-2 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
    Our struggle is as old as the Christian faith in its early years, which was a solution for our deepest problem since sin first entered the world. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
    For the Christ-follower all is grace.


  4. i happen to be a choir member. at one time we were singing “i surrender all” and in the middle of the song, i stopped singing, you know the reasons,… but, in a way, the songs i sing are exactly my prayers, the words are what i desire to be and to do, despite knowing i have my shortcomings, maybe God will understand… thank you for your post, i get what you mean.


  5. I often go on short term mission trips to a ministry in El Florido, Mexico. Each morning we are there we have a worship service. The leader of the ministry warns us at least once every trip to seriously ponder the words we are singing. He tells us that if we don’t mean the words we are singing that we are telling God lies. Gulp! I am guilty. I know that God knows this about me, I know He knows where my heart is and He loves me deeply and unconditionally even though I am broken and fall short of the mark. What a relief!

    Thank you for this post. It is an amazing piece.


  6. Many years ago I decided by the unction of the Spirit to listen to what I am singing and to make a conscious effort to fulfill what the song writer had in mind.
    Such as Joy Unspeakable. I looked around one time and didn’t see a smile on any face singing. I know the Joy of the Lord trancends emotions of happiness or sadness so I know Joy abides in all circumstances because it is our strength. I can’t say I always keep my mind on the words but it helps to close my eyes and sing as unto the Lord.
    Also just a note, the Word teaches there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT. Some forget that part and try to live saved by grace without the walk in grace. Contentment comes when you claim the whole scripture. And no, I’m not perfect but I am, through the Holy Spirit, striving to meet the mark in the liberty in which Christ has made me free, not to do as the flesh wants but to follow after the Spirit as God lights my pathway. Today you sound a little on the down side. Been there. You have my prayers brother.


  7. You have to step out! Even if you say you’re a mess, continue to worship God, even with guilt in your heart, just worship Him.

    Jesus does not want your hands, he wants your heart. 🙂


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