Having completed the second book in the Harry Potter series, I moved back into my C.S. Lewis books by starting The Screwtape Letters. This book takes a cleaver look at the nature of sin and temptation by theorizing about the methods and tactics used by demons to cause Christians to stumble. Each chapter is a letter written by an experienced demon, Screwtape, to his rookie nephew, Wormwood. I would like to apply something Screwtape said about prayer to worship because prayer and worship are so similar. Screwtape, giving advice to Wormwood about how to sabotage the prayers of a Chrisitian says this:
Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask Him [the Lord] for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.(Pg.16-17)
So many times I have thought I was asking for forgiveness when I was actually trying to feel forgiven. How foolish! How can making myself feel forgiven do anything to actually remove the debt of sin? I am often tempted to do the same thing in worship. I might say that I am adoring the Lord, but I am actually trying to feel like I adore him. The worship service becomes a time of me focusing on my own thoughts and the process of manufacturing feelings of worship.
What is worship that is more than a feeling? (Boston Rocks!) Does it mean very plain music with no emotion? No, the Lord created emotions before the fall, and they are good! I hope we will experience emotion in heaven as we worship the Lord (it would be a boring eternity without them.) Worship that is ‘more than a feeling’ means that we take the focus off of ourselves and fix our thoughts on Jesus. Instead of trying to feel like we are loved, feel like we are justified, feel like we are forgiven, we simply believe it and act on that belief by speaking, singing, and praying about the glory of the Lord.