by Steven Chan
Recently, I watched a video clip of a popular religious personality preaching that “when we worship God, we are doing it for ourselves; that God does not need our worship. God is happy when we are happy”.
If one does not know what God has revealed in the God-inspired Scriptures, one may be inclined to agree with what was said – evidently many who attend the weekly services where this religious personality and her pastor-husband preach, agree with the above statement.
But what does the Bible teach about it?
It is true that “the God that made the world and all things therein, He, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is He served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing He Himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:24-25)
But the Bible declares in John 4:23-24: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” God seeks to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. In the light of such a passage, how can one possibly conclude that when we worship we are doing it for ourselves?
It may well be true that when we please God in our worship to Him, we will receive God’s blessings but that’s very different from saying that “God does not need our worship and that we are doing for ourselves”.
The Bible does teach that the fruit of the Spirit includes “joy” and that Jesus told His disciples that “these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11) Paul also declared in Phil 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice.”
But nowhere does the Bible teach that “God is happy when we are happy”. Such a teaching makes man the focus instead of God being the focus. It reflects the popular sentiment and philosophy that man is the centre of everything and man’s self-satisfaction and self-fulfillment is what it’s all about. Instead of being “God-pleasers” ( 2 Cor 5:9), we are told that we ought to be “men-pleasers” (Col 3:22; I Thess 2:4). No where does the Bible teach that man’s happiness is the basis for God’s happiness. The idea that man’s happiness is the basis for God’s happiness would imply that whenever man is happy in whatever man does, then God will be happy!! Sounds like we are requiring God to please man – so that when man is happy, God will also be happy! This is not a doctrine that is taught in the Bible. It shows what happens when man drifts away from what the Bible says to his own “feelings’ and “feel good” philosophy.
Let’s be careful with erroneous doctrines such as the above. The Bible declares: “But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matt 15:9)