Relationships and Worship

I’ve found that if I’m harboring some resentments or have a problem with other believers, I am often hindered from fully worshiping. Any comments?

Your relationships with your brothers and sisters in the Lord will affect your worship. Most people never even think about this, but it’s true. Let me explain.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

This says that the Lord is building His people together into a “holy temple.” He is unifying us into “a dwelling in which God lives.” Most of us understand this but often don’t recognize the purpose for this building.

“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). The building is to be a place of spiritual sacrifices. It is the central place of our praise and worship. But what happens when this building is not constructed well? In other words, what happens when the relationships with the body are are out of whack? The spiritual sacrifices are lacking; they are not all that they should be.

However, the normal tendency for us when worship seems to fall flat is, “Well, I guess the worship leader didn’t hear from God today.” Or, “The musicians didn’t practice enough.” But often, what we really need to do is look into our own hearts at our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ to see if that is the problem.

Consider the man who comes to a worship service and looks scornfully on his younger brother in Christ because of hair style and clothing choices. The younger man might be “on fire” for Jesus but it doesn’t make any difference: he looks weird. And the older brother has decided to have no relationship with him. In doing so, the walls of that spiritual temple are weakened.

Or how about this scenario: there is a woman in your church who regularly tells everyone who will listen about “the exciting things the Lord is showing her.” But as far as you are concerned, she’s simply an annoyance. And because of this you have decided not to have anything to do with this sister. No matter that she is a child of God. The fact is she is not “your type of person.”

Have you ever done this? Or anything like this? How do you think God views this type of action?

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you [plural] are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17).

The word “destroys” here literally means “to mar” or “to damage.” In Bible times, if anyone were to damage the walls of the temple they would have been killed. There was no question about it—damaging the walls of the temple in any way was absolutely forbidden. Yet we damage the walls of God’s real temple every time we come together with strained or severed relationships. We are defiling the dwelling of God.

A few weak stones in the walls won’t cause major problems, but stones that are not properly fitted together, whose relationships are not in order, will make the walls very weak. Then the spiritual sacrifices will be lacking.

Your attitudes toward your brothers and sisters in Christ can affect the corporate worship. If your relationships with fellow-believers are not all that God wants them to be, determine in your heart to make them a high priority in your life. When you do this, you will see a difference in your worship life.

For a more complete understanding of this topic, our small group series, Worship’s Missing Piece, is ideal.