The purpose of worship is to show devotion to God. How could something be worship if it ignores what God requests and is done to please the “worshiper” in his own desires? Love demands that we not ignore what God wants in worship for our own preferences.
When Cain chose to not make his devotion as God had directed, he sinned and the worship was refused. See Ge. 4:1-7; He.11:4. John says that Cain’s works were evil (1Jn.3:12).
When the priests, sons of Aaron, offered devotion to God in a way that God had not authorized, they were devoured by fire (Le. 10:1,2). Moses reminded his brother that those who would approach God in worship must respect, or sanctify Him, so glorifying Him (Le.10:3). God looks for men and women who will worship Him with true devotion and in the manner He prescribes.
Jesus said, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23-24).
If worship is made according to man’s preference and pleasure, but not as God directs, how can it really glorify or honor Him? It cannot. In truth, Christ warns that following man’s teaching in worship and not in true devotion to God is vain or wasted. Read His condemnation of some in Matthew 15:8, 9:
Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
One does not worship God from the heart who exalts the teachings and practices of men (including his own) over God’s. It cannot be in the right spirit or according to truth. One must be concerned more with honoring God and His words than pleasing himself or others in worship.
It is possible to know how God desires us to worship Him; by studying and following the teaching and records of worship in the Bible. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2Tm.3:16-17). Acceptable worship must first be pleasing to God. HJS