Because acceptable worship to God must be “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), the attitude and mindset which prompt and permeate your worship are crucial. With two simple yet robust similes, Psalm 123 vividly describes the acceptable spirit of one whose eyes are uplifted in worship of the Great I AM. “Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us” (vv. 1-2). The acceptable spirit of worship is …
One of dependence. Life and death are in the hand of a servant’s master. All sustenance for a maid’s life comes from the hand of her mistress. In God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Because of the richness of His grace and mercy, our Lord has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Without God’s continuous and purposeful mercy, physical life and spiritual life are impossible.
One of submission. The mindset of a servant toward his master is ever “not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). This is the mind of Christ, who made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a bond-servant—being obedient to His Father’s will to the point of death (Philippians 2:7-8). Submission to God’s expressed will is the fundamental difference between the acceptable worship of Abel and the unacceptable worship of Cain (Genesis 4:3-5). It is the submissive spirit which neither despises the chastening of the Lord nor is discouraged when rebuked by Him (Hebrews 12:5).
One that is despised by the proud. Verses 3 and 4 explain why there is such a sense of urgency in the writer’s request for God’s mercy. He writes, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorn of those who are at ease, with the contempt of the proud.” Cain’s contempt for Abel was so severe that “it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Genesis 4:8). What a clear contrast is found between the spirit necessary for acceptable worship of God and the one which results in unacceptable worship.
Is your mindset toward God and His worship like Cain’s or Abel’s?