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Feeling Empty after Worship: Good or Bad?

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Abraham Inetianbor
The word empty in this context is used by many to describe disappointment and a sense of non-fulfillment or far from being satisfied. Feeling "empty" after worship is a bad thing and anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth. When someone tells you not to expect anything from worship because you are just supposed to leave your praise at the alter and leave, then you are not worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth.

Very often I hear people say they didn't get anything out of worship and then they get criticized for saying so and their commitment is immediately questioned. Instead of trying to figure out why they feel how they feel so we can possibly point them in the right direction, we often end up blaming the individuals for feeling how they feel and quick to remind them that worship is not about them. They are often told they are supposed to come to worship "full" and "leave empty" after giving all their heart to God. While all this is true, should this be the way to handle such situations?


Leave empty, really? We know worship is not about us but is there a chance that the individual may be right and biblical? Is there a chance that the congregation may have a lot of work to do in getting its members in the right mindset to understand worship? And where in the bible are we told to leave worship empty? When people understand what worship is about and how to approach the throne of grace, they will understand the truth about what they must give and expect out of worship.


Is it wrong to tell people to leave worship empty? The answer is YES, with a condition explained below. If you approach worship in a biblical manner and know it's not about you, then the bible is clear that you must leave worship with something, not empty. So if you leave worship empty, you either have a personal problem approaching worship with the right mindset or something may be wrong with your congregation in general just like something was wrong with the Corinthian church in the way they treated the communion (1 Cor. 11:33-34). The lukewarm church in Revelation 3:14-16 can also fit in this category.


The only thing you should be empty of when you leave worship is your burden (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6). This can be said for everyday life too because you should cast it all on Jesus. You should go into worship full of burden and empty it all at the feet of Christ along with your sacrifice of praise. Worship with all your heart in sincerity but you must not leave empty of His love. I repeat, do not leave empty. This is not a matter of opinion, it is scriptural and I believe in it firmly. We worship and adore our God everyday but "formal worship" that we do on the first day of the week (aka Sunday) requires that we be filled not empty. If you plan to leave empty of God's word or His love, you might as well stay home.



I believe you MUST leave worship:

1. Filled with encouragement after meeting with your Christian brothers and sisters. This is one of the reasons we come together. You give and receive encouragement when you meet with your fellow soldiers. We are in a spiritual battle field daily as the coming of the Lord approaches (Hebrews 10:25). Seeing one another is a one way to remind ourselves that we are still holding on to the author and finisher of our faith.

2. With happiness in your heart after GIVING because God loves a "cheerful giver"(2 Cor. 9:7). If you are not happy for the opportunity to be able to give towards the work of the Lord, then your giving was either out of grudge or necessity. This is not acceptable to God. If you give cheerfully, then you will leave worship full of Cheers or happiness.

3. With a renewed reminder of His death on the cross (I Cor. 11:23-29). Our memory must be renewed with sadness of his death on the cross OR with joy of the grace that we received as a result of this OR both. I prefer both but whichever way you choose to remember the cross, you must make a conscious effort to remember the cross. A very conscious decision to remember. "Do this in remembrance of me..."
4. Filled with the word of Christ (Colossians 3:16). This needs no explanation. We receive the word of God through spiritual songs, teaching and admonition. It is a clear command that these words should dwell in us richly. Why would anyone want to leave worship without taking the word of Christ with them? This also means the truth must be preached to the flock by those delivering the message.
5. Thankful and filled with gratitude in your heart (Colossians 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:24-25). We pray because Jesus prayed and taught us to do the same. We ought to be thankful for the opportunity to be called the Children of God. Thankful to be a part of the Holy nation of God. Have gratitude in our heart for having the gift of grace that we do not deserve. This is the reason we left our various houses to meetup and form a spiritual temple in the first place. So our heart through prayers needs to remain filled with gratitude during and after worship. 

I'm asking that we all look at the scriptures and not our personal opinions. I believe we should agree to disagree in matters of opinion but remain firm and unified in matters of doctrine (Ephesians 4:2-6).

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