Is it Possible to Worship God in Vain?



I was thinking about what I wanted this week’s devotion to focus on, and I was convicted to write on the destructive guise of liberal theology. I pray it resonates with you.

According to Webster, the word ‘vain’ means, devoid of worth or significance, profitless, useless, or worthless.

Is it possible to worship God in vain? This is a very offensive question to many. I can hear some asking, “What do you mean How can I be going to church and attempting to worship God and it not be profitable or meaningful?”

Well, let’s look at how Scripture describes meaningless worship:


Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it.

Thus, you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain…” – Matthew 15:1-9


There’s your answer straight from the mouth of Jesus. Many of the Pharisees were greedy. To get out of any financial responsibility for their parents they would simply make a vow to give what they had (their personal resources) to the Temple or synagogue.

However, whenever they needed to tap into their own resources, they could simply reverse their vow. Jesus confronted them with their hypocrisy, and they were greatly offended. He went on to tell his disciples, “Leave them; they’re blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

At the risk of offending, I personally believe the number one tool in the hand of Satan is liberal theology, which has crept into nearly all of our mainline denominations. Liberal theologians do not believe that Jesus is the only way and don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.

This, in turn, has led to many, many churches turning away from orthodox Christianity. Furthermore, I believe Jesus would make the same accusation today that He made in His day to the Pharisees: They are blind guides!

When people attempt to worship God without being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they worship God in vain! Has this offended you? The truth usually stings!