There’s a difference between entering with worship and entering in worship. Do what you can to prepare your heart before you gather with God’s people.
Within the short verses of Psalm 100, we find a perfect description of preparing to worship God with His people. God is so holy that He deserves the worship that the whole earth should unite to offer (Ps. 100:1). Not only do we shout of His greatness because silence will not suffice, but we also serve Him gladly. There is nothing He could ask of us that we should not eagerly bring. We sing joyful songs because He has been abundantly gracious to us.
1 Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to the Lord!Psalm 100:1-5
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we are his—
his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever;
his faithfulness, through all generations.
Worship is acknowledging that God is God, and we are not (Ps. 100:2). He created us; we belong to Him. He watches over us like a shepherd guides and cares for his sheep (Ps. 100:3). What is the proper response to the one who made us, keeps us, and guides us? The only fitting reaction is sincere worship.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4). Did you catch that? We are not supposed to enter the gates of our church buildings and then start the worship. We are supposed to join in with worship! That distinction makes a massive difference. We should not gather with a church on Sunday in a befuddled state, hoping the worship team will rouse our affections and the pastor will get our attention. We should come in the door with praise already pouring from our lips.
Entering with worship is very different from entering into worship.
If worship has been our consistent inclination all week, it is simple to walk in the doors of our churches with praise already stirring in our hearts and brimming from our lips. He is undeniably good, and his mercy has endured all our rebellion. Even when we were faithless, he remained faithful (Ps. 100:5).
Besides getting your wardrobe right before Sunday services, I challenge you to do something else: prepare your heart more than your attire. Consider who God is and what He has done, and come into service ready to continue the song your heart has been singing all week.