What is worship? Praise? Yea, more; it is the adoration flowing forth from a heart which is fully assured of the excellency of Him before whom it bows, expressing its profoundest gratitude for His unspeakable Gift. There it is at once apparent that the first hindrance to worship in a child of God is lack of assurance. Whilst I entertain doubts as to my acceptance in Christ, as long as I remain in a state of uncertainty as to whether my sins were atoned for at Calvary, I cannot, really, praise and adore Him for His death for me; I cannot actually say, “my Beloved is mine, and I am His.” It is one of the favorite devices of the enemy to keep Christians in the “Slough of Despond,” his object being that Christ should not receive from them the homage of their hearts...
Another great hindrance to worship is failure to judge ourselves by the Holy Word of God. The priests of Israel did not remain at the brazen alter in the outer court of the tabernacle. It needs to be pointed out that before they passed into the holy place, there to burn incense, they were required to wash at the laver. Approach unto the laver of brass speaks of the believer’s unsparing judgment of and upon himself (cf. 1 Cor. 11:31). The using of its water points to the application of the Word to all our works and ways.
Now just as the sons of Aaron were required under pain of death (Ex. 30:20) to wash at the laver before they entered the holy place to burn incense, so must the Christian today have the defilements of the way removed before he can suitably approach unto God as a worshipper. Failure at this point brings in death, that is, I remain under the contaminating power of dead things. The defilements of the way are the result of my passing through a world which is “alienated from the life of God” (Eph 4:18). If these are not removed, then I continue under the power of death in a spiritual way, and worship becomes impossible. This is brought out fully in John 13 where the Lord said to Peter, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” How many Christians there are who, through failure to place their feet in the hands of Christ for cleansing, are hindered from exercising their priestly functions and privileges.
One other fatal hindrance to worship needs to be mentioned, and that is worldliness, which means the things of the world obtaining a place in the Christian’s affections, his ways becoming “conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). A solemn example of this is found in the history of Abraham. When God called him to leave Chaldea and go into Canaan, he compromised: he went only as far as Haran (Gen. 11:31; Acts 7:4) and settled down there. Haran was Half-way House, the wilderness lying between it and the borders of Canaan. Later Abraham fully responded to God’s call and entered Canaan, and there “he builded an altar [which speaks of worship] unto the Lord” (Gen. 12:7). But there is no mention of his building any “altar” during the years he dwelt in Haran! O how many children of God today are compromising, dwelling at Half-way House, and in consequence they are not worshippers. O that the Spirit of God may so work upon and within all of us that the language of our lives, as well as that of our hearts and lips, may be “Worthy is the Lamb”—worthy of whole-hearted consecration, worthy of unstinted devotion, worthy of that love which is manifested by keeping His commandments, worthy of real worship May it be so for His name’s sake.