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The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren—A Synopsis (continued).

Chapter 13—Worship That Pleases God (pages 100-106)


If a Christian’s worship is to be pleasing to God, it must be wholehearted and genuine. The “outside” of worship is inferior to the “inside” of worship—another way of saying that God looks at the heart (attitude) instead of the “display” (façade).

Worship that is pleasing to God has the following four characteristics:

1. Accuracy.

To worship God “in truth” (John 4:23), is to worship Him in accordance with accurate Bible doctrine. To think of God correctly, each thought must reflect the essence of God as revealed in Holy Scripture. To think of or worship God according to one’s own personal opinion is a form of “idolatry. This being the case, it cannot be stressed how important serious Bible study is necessary for worship that will truly please God.

2. Authenticity.

To worship God “in spirit” (John 4:23), is to worship Him in genuineness of attitude (with one’s whole “heart”). The spirit of man, one third of the tripartite of man (1 Thessalonians 5:23), is that part that becomes reborn in the “new birth,” which then is able to relate to and communicate with God. Authentic worship has nothing to do with “emotion;” it has everything to do with “honesty.” God abhors the phony, the fake, the fraud, the showman, the hypocrite, the “snake oil.” But He loves that which is real, honest, straightforward and sincere. Authenticity (being genuine) can be misplaced (embedded) in wrong doctrine; therefore, “accuracy of doctrine” and “authenticity of spirit” go hand-in-hand.

3. Thoughtfulness.

Worship that is pleasing to God is worship that employs the mind of the worshiper. Vain (empty of thought) repetitions mean nothing to God. Perfunctory (obligatory and mechanical) methods of “customary worship” (singing, praying, etc.) and the use of “religious clichés” (“Amen,” “Praise the Lord,” “Hallelujah,” etc.) bring no pleasure to God. A Christian should understand that he lives and functions before the most sophisticated Person in the universe and this Person is not impressed with simplistic and thoughtless recognition of His being. One way of understanding the essence of God is to study the meaning of His various names used throughout the Bible. This will open avenues of fresh thought, recognition and worship pertaining to God—three products that will please Him.

4. Practicality.

Worship that pleases God must employ the body. It is only through the tangible body of each believer that contact with other tangible elements of this planet can be made. God implores every Christian to offer his body as a living sacrifice to Him and in His service. As Old Testament sacrifices pictured the coming Messiah, the bodies of believers should always picture the entire truth of Jesus Christ—His death, burial, resurrection and presence in this world through the Holy Spirit. And the only way this may be accomplished is through practical service, which is multifaceted in execution (another way of saying that there are numerous “ministries” in which a Christian may participate).

To worship in a practical fashion will cost the Christian his self-centeredness, his comfort, his convenience, his time and his energy. Practical worship is not an exercise of ease. It is not for the timid or the person who does not wish to become involved. But it is the result of accurate, authentic and thoughtful elements of worship.


“God wants all of you.” (pg. 100)

“God is not interested in halfhearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of your time and money.” (pg. 100)

“Where you worship is not as important as why you worship and how much of yourself you offer to God when you worship.” (pg. 100)

“Worship must be based on the truth of Scripture, not our opinions about God.” (pg. 101)

“Worship is your spirit responding to God’s Spirit.” (pg. 101)

“It is not just a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say.” (pg. 101)

“When we worship, God looks past our words to see the attitude of our hearts.” (pg. 101)

“God hates hypocrisy. He doesn’t want showmanship or pretense or phoniness in worship.” (pg. 101)

“We can worship God imperfectly, but we cannot worship Him insincerely.” (pg. 101)

“Of course, sincerity alone is not enough; you can be sincerely wrong. That’s why both spirit and truth are required. Worship must be both accurate and authentic. God-pleasing worship is deeply emotional and deeply doctrinal. We use both our hearts and our heads.” (pg. 102)

“Your biggest distraction in worship is yourself—your interests and your worries over what others think about you.” (pg. 102)

“The best style of worship is the one that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the background and personality God gave you.” (pg. 102)

“There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to worship and friendship with God.” (pg. 103)

“God is not pleased with thoughtless singing of hymns, perfunctory praying of clichés, or careless exclamations of “Praise the Lord,” because we can’t think of anything else to say at that moment.” (pg. 103)

“If worship is mindless, it is meaningless. You must engage your mind.” (pg. 103)

“Also, be specific. . . . You would rather receive two specific compliments than twenty vague generalities. So would God.” (pg. 104)

“Another idea is to make a list of the different names of God and focus on them. . . . and He commands us to praise His name.” (pg. 104)

“God insists that our worship services be understandable [in a “fitting and orderly way”] to unbelievers when they are present in our worship gatherings.” (pg. 104)

“Why does God want your body? . . . Because without your body you can’t do anything on this planet.” (pg. 105)

“As long as you’re on earth, your spirit can only be where your body is. If your body isn’t there, neither are you.” (pg. 105)

“Real worship costs.” (pg. 105)

“The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.” (pg. 106)


Mark 12:30; Hebrews 12:28; John 4:23; 1 Samuel 16;7b; Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 7:17; Ezra 3:11; Psalm 149:3; 150:3; Nehemiah 8:6; John 4:23; Matthew 6:7 1 Corinthians 14:40; 14:16, 17; Romans 12:1; Psalm 51:14; Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 51:17; 54:6; Philippians 4:18; Psalm 141:2; Hebrews 13:16; Mark 12:33; Romans 12:1; 2 Samuel 24:24.


God-pleasing worship is a practical exercise employing one’s body in outward service that is in accordance with Bible doctrine and performed in a genuine and thoughtful manner. It employs the whole person (body, soul and spirit) within the parameters of accurate doctrine. Such worship is both quite costly and very rewarding to the believer.