How Cain worshipped - by Ben Bonython
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1
Our worship preferences can distract and even separate our hearts from the Lord in worship. Worship ultimately is not for us but for the Lord. Yet our preferences in worship tend to serve us. And this can become a conditional issue in worship from your heart unto the Lord. In other-words, your willingness or desire to enter into worship is dependent on your preferences being satisfied. That was how Cain worshipped in Genesis 4.
Jesus calls us to worship God in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:19-24). This removes any rights we have to preferences, rather, calls us to discipleship which enthuses our worship unto the Lord. This means we take care and focus on worship from our heart, mind and soul alone - not requiring or demanding any external supports or preferences.
Cain and Abel outline the heart of worship and the heart of Father God. God speaks to Cain with great hope, care and love. Father God comforts Cain calling to him:
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master. Genesis 4:6-7
Life is full of challenges, battles and choices, and we do not always have our hearts right with the Lord. In other words, like Cain, we do not always do what is right. And we so easily forget that the Lord only seeks our hearts, not our works or good deeds. God desires you, and you alone. God seeks you and His heart is for you, evidenced here as God seeks out Cain and encourages him. Cain is not dejected by God, but called into proper relational worship - not lip service. Father God makes a promise that the heart issue of Cain can be turned around, and that Cain will be accepted if he does what is right. God is for you!
Faithful worship is recognising that our preferences mean nothing, and usually only serve to put blockages in our hearts from the 'spirit and truth worship' required by God - and we all know what blockages do to our hearts! Faithful worship is without preference, only heart. It is our heart that desires to worship in spirit and in truth. That is worship – acceptable to God, acceptable to our salvation, acceptable as disciples of Jesus.
Remember that God is for you and calls you into Spiritual Worship. He calls your heart to Himself, at all times, in any church service, in any style of music or church ascetics. Let us be mature disciples, who are patient and encouraging in the preferences of others for their sake and faith, but as for ourselves, let us only worship God in Spirit and in Truth.