Summary: It seems that more than any other time, we are under spiritual attack on Sunday mornings. Barrier after barrier gets in our way trying to prevent us from getting to worship. Barriers are not just that. They are a battle over your worship. And anything tha
Barriers to Worship
Did you struggle to get to worship this morning? Raise your hands. It seems that more than any other time, we are under spiritual attack on Sunday mornings. Barrier after barrier gets in our way trying to prevent us from getting to worship. For some, it’s tough to get up early on Sunday after a hard week and get ready. For others, it’s the challenge of getting the kids up, dressed, fed and in the car. Barriers can even come on the drive to church. I remember on Easter morning 2 years ago, I was driving on I-10 in New Orleans East at 6:15 in the morning and making the turn at Morrison when all of a sudden a red truck zoomed by me going at least 90 miles an hour. It cut in front of me and I had to slam on my breaks so the truck wouldn’t clip me. It then tried to move from the right lane over two lanes to the left lane and when it did, it hit another car which forced the car into the guard rail, spinning it out. The driver of the truck lost control and bounced over to lanes, hitting the right guard rail and blowing out the tire and then it spun out. I again had to slam my breaks so as not to run into the truck. When all of the cars came to a stop, the drivers got out shaken. I stopped and got out to check on the drivers as did the other drivers. Then I noticed the driver of the truck and his two passengers slip down the hiway, over the rail, over a fence and disappear under the overpass of Chef Hiway. I looked at the time I was going to be late which isn’t a good thing when you’re the scheduled preacher for the sunrise service! There seem to always be barriers in getting to worship.
The barriers can even appear at church. Don Chapman writes, Recently I visited a church where I had to jump over a few unnecessary hurdles before I finally took my seat in their worship service. There was no sign out front. I drove to the church’s location and was surprised not to see a sign. Was I in the right place? I’ve probably driven by the church building 100 times, and since it’s in an old warehouse, I never knew it was a church! I suspected I was in the right place because of all the cars in the adjacent parking lot. Then as I parked my car I saw a sign on the side of the building facing a side road (but no sign BY the road.) Then we tried several doors and all of them were locked. We finally found an unlocked door on our fourth try! Then there were no greeters. I walked into the church and stood in the lobby, spinning around with a blank look on my face as I tried to figure out which door led to the sanctuary. It was like the old game show “Let’s Make a Deal” where you pick one of three mystery doors. Nobody was around to help me find my way, no signs, nothing. A bunch of kids were entering door #1 so I guessed that wasn’t right… then I saw adults going in door #2 so I followed them down a hallway to the sanctuary entrance. After all this, I expected to enter a room with 10 people…To my complete shock I entered a large auditorium that was literally packed with about 500 people And then he writes, “I felt like I was on a treasure hunt! You really have to want to go to this place since they put so many obstacles in your way.”
Barriers are not just that. They are a battle over your worship. And anything that gets in the way of that needs to be dealt with. Dealing with barriers is doing battle with Satan himself over the praise of God. Ezekiel 28 describes a scene where Satan who was originally created to be an angelic leader but wanted to be totally in charge and overthrow God’s rule by leading a number of other angels in an insurrection. As a result, God cast him and his cohorts out of heaven. Ever since his expulsion, Satan has had an agenda to defeat the purposes of God and the people of God and undermine their praise of God. Satan, who is called the “adversary” 56 times in the Bible, is diametrically opposed to everything that God is accomplishing today and will do anything he can to derail it.
When Satan attacks the person and purposes of God, he does it very boldly. When he attacks the people of God, he’s much more subtle. If you will, he uses a “stealth attack” to divide, divert, deride and dishearten believers. One way he does that is to attack the praises of God. The devil hates it when we sing praises to God because it rouses our souls, gives us courage, lifts our hearts, restores our faith, builds our confidence, unites our voices and hearts, and lifts up Jesus’ name like a mighty banner. Worship is not just preparation for warfare, it is spiritual warfare. When God’s people sing together, we invade the devil’s agenda and take him head on.