Summary: Worship must flow out of a willing spirit, a willing heart. God is always worthy to be praised. Are you always willing?

Some time ago, I preached from this passgae about the three things that Spiritual Warfare is over. It’s over the Word of God, the Will of God, and over the Worship of God. Satan came at Jesus in all of these areas, and he will do no less to you and I, and to all who desire to follow after God. But knowing what the war is over, and having a battle plan that enables you to be victorious is two different things. And so I want to begin looking tonight at some of the things that we need to possess and implement, in order to win in the warfare over our worship.

Before I do, let me say this. Alan Walker told about a scene that captivated audiences around the globe a few years ago. It was where three gray whales, icebound off Point Barrow, Alaska, floated battered and bloody, gasping for breath at a hole in the ice. There only hope was to somehow be transported five miles past the icepack into the open sea. Rescuers began cutting a string of breathingholes about twenty yards apart in the six-inch-thick ice. For eight days they coaxed the whales from one hole to the next, mile after mile. Along the way, one of the whales vanished and was presumed dead. But finally, the other two whales made it to safety, and swam to freedom.

And in a way, worship is one of the breathing holes that the Lord gives us along the way. And even in the ocean of worship itself, there will be a string of breathing holes that we must rise up to in order to stay alive. Battered and bruised in a world frozen over by sinfulness and callusness, we rise for air along the way, and that’s one reason why some have come here today. The church should be a place where we can come breathe again, to be loved and encouraged, until the day when the ice cap of sin, and it’s melted away in the light of His awesome glory!

And though we could allow the scripture to reveal and support a lot of activities as being breathing holes, we are constrained to cover the activity of worship! In my years as a believer, especially in recent years, I have seen how important it is that we worship God. Worshop is to have a top place in our lives, and in our services. What is worship? one might ask. Worship is an active response to God whereby we declare His worth. Worship is not passive, but is participative. Worship is not a mood, it is a decisive response. Worship is not a feeling, it is a declaration!

We ahould worship God every day. But the Lord’s day is a special day when we come together for fellowship together, to pray together, to learn together, and also to worship together. And so, even this day, the Lord’s day, is a type of a breathing hole. And I think that’s why the devil fights us in services, in preparation, in various ways. he is trying to hold us under the ice and keep us from getting our breath. More than that, he doesn’t want us to catch GOD’S BREATH! And so, what must we do to win this battle, this warfare over worship? What must we do to keep breathing properly?

There are several things, but I only want to cover one of them in this message. To win in this warfare, to enter into this place and press in to worship, I believe that we must have A WILLING SPIRIT! And I want us to look at a few passages of scripture in considering this thought. PSALM 122:1 - "I was glad when they said unto me, ’Let us go to the house of the Lord’." The house of the Lord in David’s day was the temple, or tabernacle. Today the house of the Lord is not the building, but the individual hearts of the believers, which collectively makes up the Church.

However, we can draw from this passage that it is not only discussing the place of worship, but the attitude of worship. David wanted to go to the house of the Lord. He was gleeful, happy, excited, enthused about going. In fact, he so much wanted to be there, that one Psalm tells us that he would even go with his enemies, with those who had mistreated him, and raised up against him. Now that’s a man with a desire that will not be beat! He was just glad to have the opportunity!

You know, coming to church is a very important practice. It should be a healthy habit in the life of every believer. Yet, as with anything else, habits can become dangerous rutts if we’re not careful. You may be one who wouldn’t miss a service. You may have committed to not missing a meeting. Yet the key thing is whether or not we have been able to maintain the willing spirit, and the attitude of gladness of coming to Church. The anxious enthusiasm can quickly turn into stale commitment to an undesireable obligation. It is important to understand that being here, even on a regular basis, does not identify us as eager attenders.

Many people come to church with no excitement or enthusiasm. Many people in the Bible did not share David’s excitement about going to the house of the Lord. And some of the approaches and attitudes that they took, are similar to present day attitudes. Let me show you. In Malachi 1:6-13 - The priests here had fell into a place where the Lord Himself described them as "despising His name." They denied the charge, and challenged the Lord to show them where they had had failed. In short, they had failed in the area of their worship and service unto God.

They were offering polluted bread, along with blind, lame, and sick sacrifices. The Lord said, "I have no pleasure in you, and neither will I accept an offering at your hand." He goes on to say, "My name is great, and will be praised among the Gentiles, yet you have profaned it." Now, remember that these were the priests. These were the ones who were representing the nation before God, and was to be leading the nation in worship unto the Lord. And in v. 13, there’s something said that coincides with many people’s attitudes today: "You also say, ’O how wearisome (tiresome) this is...’."

Some of you will go home this morning and, when church time rolls around this evening, you’ll say, "O man, not again. Lord, I just can’t do it. It’s tiresome. I’m tired. I’ve worked all week....." Yeah, you worked all week, and you was tired all week, but you went on and worked didn’t you? You may not have wanted to, but you pressed on, didn’t you? *Do you know why you did? You were partly motivated by what you receive as a result. That’s why I come to church. Part of the motivation is that I love what I get out of it!

Work is the same as worship. At your job, to get something out of it, you have to put in to it. Likewise, if you don’t put something into worship, or any other Spiritual area, you’re sure to get nothing out! It’s going to be impossible for you to get anything out of Church if you don’t put anything in. And just as putting in something at work requires more than just going, church also is about more than just coming! *So, if you’re one of those people who have to drag themselves to church, or who makes theirself stay for the whole service, or who comes, but you don’t get a lot out of it, maybe you need to start putting a little more in!

Listen: A good way to be ready when you come to church is to become a daily worshiper. Worship is more than an attitude, it’s an act. But it’s more than an act, it’s a lifestyle. Church service becomes the icing on the cake. When we are not personal worshipers, then church becomes a contradictory practice instead of a complimentary practice. Worship will begin competeing with our way of life. *Then, some people are like the Israelites in the time of Amos. Listen to Amos 8:5 - They said, "When will the Sabbath be over, so we can sell wheat again, making the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, cheating people by falsifying the scales?"

They couldn’t wait for their religious obligations to be over, for they saw it as keeping them from living their life. Some say there are too many services, some say they’re too long, etc. And when our worship degenerates to merely one of several obligations, we want to get it over with so we can get on with our life. *But Christianity should be your way of life. And that includes worship. And when worship is our lifestyle, we will not experience that kind of decay.

Jesus challenged us in Matthew 6:33 to "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." And that kind of willing, seeking attitude, must be under continual construction and development in our lives. Let me sum it up in Psalm 63:1-8 - We would be well to read those scriptures every day, until they become our words, our desire, and our pursuit! The thirsting soul will be satisfied. This attitude toward God is one that is eager and enthusiastic. To call it a willing spirit is almost an understatement.

When we come together without a spirit willing to worship, participate, and learn, then the adventure of worship deteriorates to boredom and monotony. And while here in the flesh, a person in that condition is really far from here. They don’t worship. They don’t learn. And they will have not participated. All they will have accomplished is spent an hour sitting idle in a religious setting. So, if you’re going to win in this warfare over worship, the first thing you have to focus on is in developing and maintaining a willing spirit.

What’s in your heart right now? Can worship just flow out of you, or are other things standing between you and your worship of God?