When Your Heart Isn't In It

by Joe Thorn May 29, 2015

We are made by our triune God to worship him in spirit and truth. In him we find grace and mercy and fullness of life. He speaks in his word, hears our prayers, and delights in our songs of praise. And when we engage in these disciplines by faith we are sanctified. We experience more grace. And despite all of this we sometimes just don't want to do it.

Anger, sorrow, apathy and hundred other feelings leave us in state of mind where the idea of gathering with the church for worship or community group simply isn't appealing. Sometimes we wake up on Sunday morning and secretly (hopefully) wonder, "Is my kid sick today? If so I guess we'll have to stay home." It's shameful, but common among all of us. Sometimes we don't went to do what we are created for. And in that moment we make a common mistake. We think since our heart isn't in it we shouldn't do it. I've felt this way before. I have heard it a lot as well. "I didn't come to worship this Sunday because my heart wasn't in it, and if I came and sang those songs I would feel like a hypocrite." This is a deadly conclusion.

Do you really think that avoiding worship will be the means by which your heart will changed, prepared to engage in worship? Can disconnecting from the means of grace somehow bring about a revival of the heart? No! The means of grace are for those who need them; for those who are not feeling as they ought, to change the heart, realign the will, and draw men and women to Jesus Christ.

And there is a sense in which you already know this. How often have you not wanted to go to church only to be find yourself greatly blessed by having gone? How does this happen? Because the means of grace are just that—means by which God communicates to us grace that makes us what we are not.

“By the upright use of these means, you will find the Holy Ghost, as it were, stretch himself on your cold hearts, and infuse life and heat into you.”

Richard Steele, Remedies for Wandering Thoughts in Worship

Christian, you may be cold in heart right now. You might find yourself sitting in darkness and uninterested in God's word, prayer, or worship. But do not neglect these things, for no matter how feeble your faith is at the moment, God will strengthen and enlarge it. Begin actively seeking the Lord. Look to him in the Scripture. Cast your anxieties on him. He will hear you. He will respond. Open his word that he might open your eyes.

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
’I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”

Is. 57:15