Worship should be declaring the glory of God in all that we say and do. Worship is just singing to God but it is giving glory to in whatever we do:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)
When we meet together for corporate worship in our church buildings, we should be declaring what God has done for us through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. However, that is not what we do all the time. I feel in many churches, our worship can be self-centered. You may be asking, how is that possible?
Worship can become self-centered when a church starts singing how much praising the Lord benefits them. The psalmist wrote that we are not to forget God's benefits (Psalm 103:2), but that does not mean, we singing about how praising Jesus brings us the victory. Worship should remind us as we sing the victory we have in Jesus not singing us victory.
Worship can be self-centered when we sing more of our love for God and how it will benefit Him. How many of you remember this song:
I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
O my soul rejoice
Take joy my King
In what you hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear
I remember singing that song since day one I stepped in church and it is still sung in some churches to this day. Is there anything wrong with saying much we love the Lord? No. The problem is when we say how much we love Him without declaring why we love Him. Psalm 116 gives us an example of a worshiper saying why He loves the Lord:
I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live (Psalm 116:1-2)
A worshiper should declare that He loves the Lord because of all the good things He has done for us. While worship is a pleasing aroma to the Lord but keep in mind Jesus said the Father seeks true worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
Worship can become self-centered when we seek to get a blessing out of it. In a lot of church I have served at, I have heard several announcements encouraging people to come to their service the following week or for some special service that they might get a blessing. Since when did we come to worship the Almighty Creator who sent His Only Son to be our perfect sacrifice a possible way to get a blessing. We are to bless the Lord in our worship. Psalm 103:1 says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!" No where in that verse did it say bless the Lord so He will bless you. We are to bless the Lord. Worship is not what you get, but about what you give.
Worship can become self-centered when we allow our preferences to get in the way. I know that many people in church, especially Baptist churches, do not agree on the music style of worship. Some want traditional while others want contemporary. Much of the older generation want the "Old Time Religion" songs because they reflect their values and what they grew up with. The younger generation wants the contemporary because it is new and fresh. When one generation is not benefited, then a worship war begins. Same thing goes when a certain song is sung during the worship service. You say, "I can only worship God when this songs is played," you have made worship all about you. Is there anything wrong with singing old songs such as the ones in the Hymnal? No, as long they are doctrinally sound and the same thing goes with newer songs.
There are many other reasons why worship can become self-centered which I will hopefully, Lord Willing, be writing more about. I pray that the Holy Spirit will stir up His church not only to advance the gospel, but to also be a people who "proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).