Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Real Worship Wars Are The Battles Within Us

I once heard a worship leader pray during a corporate worship time: "These praises are for You, Lord. This worship is for You. Worship is not for us, it is for You. Our hearts are the offering.  This praise is for You. Great are You Lord!" The prayer was moving and from the heart, and in no way detracted from worship.

However, I've told the people who listen to me teach that nobody should accept what I say without searching the Scriptures to see if what they've heard from me is true. In a similar manner, we ought not to assume everything a worship leader says, even in his prayers, is based on truth. Though the worship leader was sincere, the premise of his prayer, in my opinion, is not based on biblical truth.

Our worship is never for God.

Let me explain.

God is the all-sufficient, infinite and resourceful Creator of the universe.  He needs nothing from me, including my worship. Doubt this is true? Listen to these verses:
"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath." (Acts 17:24-25).  
Worship was never designed to give God anything. Why then does God seem to require praise and worship from us if He doesn't need it? C.S. Lewis answers this question in his amazing little book Reflections on the Psalms. Lewis confesses that he was once bothered by what he calls "God's incessant demand that we tell Him how good He is."  Listen to Lewis describe how reading the Psalms caused him to view God in an unfavorable light.
"We all despise the man who demands continued assurance of his own virtue, intelligence, or delightfulness. We despise still more the crowd of people around every dictator, every millionaire, every celebrity who gratify that demand. This picture began to emerge in my mind of God that was ludicrous and horrible .... God says in the Psalms, "Whoever offers Me thanks and praise, he honors Me." It seemed to me like God was saying, "What I most want is to be told that I'm good and great." I found this extremely distressing. It made me think what I least wanted to think about God. Gratitude to God, reverence to Him, obedience to Him; I can understand that, but not this perpetually  eulogy."
Lewis was bothered because it seemed that God was demanding our praise and worship because God needed it; similar to an insecure person needing compliments. However, the more Lewis studied the Bible, the more he began to understand that his view of God was wrong. Lewis came to see the biblical truth that God was in need of nothing, even our praise. Lewis then reached the understanding that worship was designed to give us what we need. Listen to Lewis:
"In worship, it is God who gives, and it is we who receive. The miserable idea that God should in any sense need or crave for our worship like a vain woman our compliments or a vain author presenting his new books to people who never met or heard of him is implicitly answered by the words from Psalm 50:12: 'If I be hungry, I won't tell you.' Even if such an absurd deity could be conceived he would hardly come to us, the lowest of rational creatures to gratify his appetite.
C.S. Lewis, the incredible and talented writer of many books, then summarizes his argument that God is never in need of our worship with a vivid analogy that draws a mental picture that instantly causes me to see the silliness of saying God wants my worship because He needs my praise or that He needs my devotion.
I don't want my dog to bark approval of my books."
Bingo. Think of the implications to both your private and corporate worship if what Lewis is saying is true. If we don't come before God in worship for His sake, then for what reason do we worship?  If God is self-sufficient and cannot be served by human hands, then why do we worship God at all? Lewis reasons worship was never designed to give God approval, honor, or compliments, but it is an avenue through which our full hearts can burst out in love, praise and adoration of the One who infinitely and eternally loves us and gave Himself for us. The all-sufficient God doesn't need it; those who are inwardly bursting with joy do!
"The most obvious fact about praise, whether of God or anything, strangely had escaped me. I thought of praise as compliment, or approval, or giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise, unless shyness or the fear of boring others, is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise; lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game.... except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible."
"I had not noticed either just as men praised whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join us in praise it. Isn't she lovely? Wasn't it glorious? Don't you think that magnificent? The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about."
"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy, because the praise not merely expresses, but completes the enjoyment. Praise is joy's appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are, the delight is incomplete until it is expressed."
"If it were possible for a created soul fully to appreciate, that is to love and delight in the worthiest Object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, that soul would be in supreme be-attitude."
"Therefore, to see what this doctrine really means, we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God; drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by that delight, which far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression. Our joy no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds."
The Westminster Confession says it best: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." What too few of us realize is that these two things (i.e. "glorifying God and enjoying Him") are actually the same thing, for they are the inseparable parts of real worship. ""Only when I truly enjoy God in my life will I ever really glorify God in my worship."  My enjoyment of God is never really complete unless there is an outlet through which I can praise God! Where there is no intense and personal joy from the continual discovery of God's great grace in Jesus, there will be no external and exuberant corporate expression of God's magnificent glory through worship.

That's why worship in many churches is either on life support or dead. It has nothing to do with Saint guitars versus Steinway pianos, videos versus violins, or any other differences in style. Though many call the disagreements over 'contemporary' and 'traditional' styles of worship 'wars,' in reality, the real war in worship is the internal battle in me. God calls me to rest in Him, to enjoy Him, to be so captivated and enraptured by His love and grace for me, that I will burst unless I actively worship God and give expression to what's happening in my soul.

Worship is inner health made audible. If there is no soul-tingling, mind-bending, emotion-touching, will-transforming enjoyment of God, then there is no soul-tingling, mind-bending, emotion-touching, will-transforming worship of God! Worship of God is non-existent when enjoyment of God is non-existent. Sure, I can sing songs, play music, and 'do church,' but if there is no understanding of what it means to be fully satisfied in God,  then there will be no desiring to publicly express my praise and gratitude in real worship of God.

When I was discussing this issue with Rachelle she asked me about Matt Redman's popular song entitled We Are Here for You. The title seems to indicate the song is built on the false premise that God needs our worship. However, when you read the words of the song, you realize Matt Redman is saying "We Are Here for God," like one would say "I'm going to Braum's for ice cream," or "I'm going to the store for milk."  There is something in worship that I need. I'm going to worship because I must express how great God or my heart will burst! I am so captivated by who He is to me, that I must tell others about Him and encourage others to rest in Him and worship Him. If I can't worship, then I'm not happy! I must worship! I need worship!

Worship is for me!

The real worship war taking place every Sunday morning is the same battle that takes place within you every day. It is the fight to learn what it means to enjoy God and His love and grace for you, and rest in Him and not your own performance or lack of it. Worship is designed to be the consummate expression of those who are bursting with love for God!

It's okay for people not to sing in corporate worship. There are times I don't feel like worshipping. That doesn't affect God. It just shows me I'm losing the internal battle. My soul isn't healthy.

So, back to where we started this post. When a worship leader says, "These praises are for you, God" as if God needs my worship, I cringe. I am the one who needs worship and praise, or if I'm not into worship and praise, my thoughts should be on what's going on inside of me! Why am I not delighting in God and His love for me? For a better understanding of this profound principle, I would encourage you to watch my friend Sam Storms as he beautifully and verbally articulates this doctrine via video.

It will change the way you worship.


Addendum: In the comment stream of this post, an excellent question is asked that serves as a great illustration of this principle.

Question: - "But isn't it possible to say "These praises are for You, God," and mean something other than "You need our praises?" If we look at the praises as gifts of love, then "These praises are for You, God," is like saying, "These flowers are for you, honey." The point is not so much what is given, as the fact that something is given. Even if she doesn't like those kind of flowers, a wife will appreciate the love that prompted them. Even so, I think, does God.

My Response: - "I understand what you are saying, but it is precisely the opposite of what I am proposing as truth. God appreciates, loves, cares, guides, protects, embraces, delights in, and sings over His people whether we give him beautiful flowers, ugly flowers, or NO FLOWERS at all. He doesn't need our worship to feel loved or to respond to us in appreciation. God's love is not drawn out by our loveliness, but  eternally flows from within Himself like an artesian spring. Therefore, my worship is but an expression of my understanding of His unknowable and unconditional love for me (see Ephesians 3:14-21). Worship bursts forth from me as my consummate delight of God! He loves me whether I worship or not. :) When I don't worship, I'm losing the battle of enjoying God and His love! This will take a while to digest. If you ever see it and believe it you will be genuinely set free, for the truth always sets one free."


Christiane said...

"If we don't come before God in worship for His sake, then for what reason do we worship?"

WADE, like the Magi of old, no one who bends the knee before the Lord of Life ever retraces the old road again...
the earth of our hearts is stirred as the words of Isaiah are heard once more in our churches and our spiritual journey, brings us ‘in faith’ once more to Bethlehem. . . from there, we are once more re-directed to 'the good ways'

our lives change direction when we kneel before Jesus in prayer, we leave the old ways in the past

Anonymous said...

Many elements of this post (some would say the main element) are highly congruent with what Victoria Osteen said about worship in a YouTube video recently.

Most people I know reacted very negatively to her statements.

Was she right? Only lacking a longform blog post to develop her thoughts?

Was she wrong? Is there a key difference between the context of her remarks and yours?

Tim Snider

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think we can all agree that God does not "NEED" our worship. But isn't it plausible that maybe he desires or even enjoys our worship? If this is not the case then why does the scriptures depict him as a jealous God. A jealous God obviously needs or desires something from us otherwise he would not be jealous.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, you always articulate my thoughts better than I do. There is a statement that I have heard very often that always gives me pause. "Worship isnt about you so it shouldnt matter that it is __________ (to loud, a musical style you dont know or like ect ect). The first thought that always comes to my mind is if it isn't about me in some way, why am I involved. If it is about me telling something to or about God then shouldn't I do that in a musical form I understand and connect with? There are some musical forms I just cannot seem to connect with and therefore can not seem to use in worship. Of course the answer is always that something is wrong with my heart if I cannot worship God in whatever form the worship leader has chosen. This never makes sense to me but keep hearing it over and over. Can you help me here?

Wade Burleson said...


I would never speak on behalf or for Victoria Osteene. I neither know her or her theology. My suggestion would be you interact with the premise of CS Lewis and engage in a discussion of principles rather than assign camps of people on the basis of a personality.

Wade Burleson said...

anonymous 9:23

If you define jealousy as you would the jealousy of a jilted girlfriend, then yes, God needs us. If you define divine jealousy as the insatiable desire that God's people find their total and complete satisfaction in Him, as I do, then God doesn't need us, but rather we need Him. God is jealous of our discovery that only He satisfies the longings of a human being.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous 9:33 (sorry, the previous comment from me was for Anonymous 8:33),

Wise words indeed.

Because forms of outward expression of our inner desires vary, to make everyone fit into your expression of worship is problematic. Some worship with candles quietly. Some with hymns and pianos and organs. Some with guitars and flashing lights. The fact ANY judgment about another person's worship is made is a sign that the judger doesn't understand worship in the first place. It is quite appropriate to find a corporate worship service that suits your style. Refrain from judging those who worship with another style, and God forbid that worship leaders portray God only enjoys one style. Worship is about how best we express our inner joy and satisfaction in Him. Truth be known, most churches do music and worship has nothing to do with it. Worship is inner health made audible, and sometimes singing is included, but not always.

Shari England said...

Though we can't know for certain of what the worship leader meant when he said "Our worship is not for us", perhaps he meant it more in line with Psalm 115:1, "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth."

Wonderful article, Pastor Wade. True worship was indeed a journey for me as He took me from "doing church" to "enjoying Him daily", in which I often found and find myself in spontaneous worship (especially in the privacy of my home, where, sadly, it's much easier). Scripture also tells us that "God inhabits the praise of His people". Another confusing verse perhaps causing some to think He needs our praise like a rock star would gravitate toward the cheer of the crowd. But just as you mentioned, there are times when I just don't feel like praising. And I think it is in those times that the enemy lurks at the door. But praising God, not because you "feel" like it, but simply because He is good and faithful,the One from Whom all blessings flow, and because the enemy despises it, can keep the one "like a roaring lion who seeks to devour" at bay as God inhabits our praise. Praise for God in that sense does not come from spontaneous expression, but from a heart that longs to "feel" again. As David penned, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation." Ps. 51:12

So, praise truly works both ways.

Just my thoughts,

Shari England said...

Additionally, I remember a moment after my liver transplant, with the remnants of anesthesia and pain meds flowing through veins, I began to experience horrible visions when I closed my eyes to rest. They were fearful and tormenting. So I began praising God by singing “Jesus, name above all names, Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord, Emmanuel, God is with us, Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.” Very soon, every trace of torment was gone. Can't explain it. Just know it happened.

Wade Burleson said...

Good word Shari. Praise, of course, is always directed to God, but it is not for God. The difference being, our praise is not directed to the singers, the musicians, etc... but to God.

An excellent comment.

Kristen said...

But it is possible to say "These praises are for You, God," and mean something other than "You need our praises." If we look at the praises as gifts of love, then "These praises are for You, God," is like saying, "These flowers are for you, honey." The point is not so much what is given, as the fact that something is given. Even if she doesn't like those kind of flowers, a wife will appreciate the love that prompted them. Even so, I think, does God.

Wade Burleson said...

"Even if she doesn't like those kind of flowers, a wife will appreciate the love that prompted them. Even so, I think, does God."

Kristen, I understand what you are saying, but it is precisely the opposite of what I am positing as truth. God appreciates, loves, cares, guides, protects, embraces, delights in, and sings over His people whether we give him beautiful flowers, ugly flowers, or NO FLOWERS at all. He doesn't need our worship to feel loved, and respond to us in appreciation. His love for is not drawn out by our loveliness, but flows from Himself like an artesian spring. Therefore, my worship is but an expression of my understanding of His unknowable and unconditional love for me (see Ephesians 3:14-21). Worship bursts forth from me as the consummate delight of God! He loves me whether I worship or not. :)

This will take a while to digest. If you ever see it and believe it you will genuinely be free, for the truth always sets one free.

Steve Miller said...


Thank you for what I believe is one of your finest blogs I have ever read. The reason being is how clearly you took the focus of the worship battle and removed the contention of music style which seems to be the culprit in most discussions and highlighted the internal battle of the state of one's spiritual health. So many churches announce different worship services when in essence they are really announcing 3 different styles of music. "Glorifying God and enjoying Him forever" is indeed the internal heart of the matter. Thank you Wade.

Steve Miller

Victorious said...

Thank you for this post, Wade! Do you think some think their worship is pleasing to the Lord...much like a child who wants to please her parents? Or could that lead to a "performance" type of mentality on our part? Or perhaps it's a need to feel "special" to the Lord by doing what we think He would take notice of?

In other words, worship can either be "me" centered or "Him" centered.

Am I making any sense? :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

This post is another one of my favorites. I love worship at church or even privately. I believe prayer and worship are two wonderful gifts from God for our benefit not His.

Both are burden lifting, healing, and satisfying. It doesn't leave us feeling helpless or hopeless afterward or during. Quite the opposite. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

Anonymous said...

Good post!

I began to understand why some church services leave me cold and others leave me exalting God when I read Michael Horton's book "Christless Christianity."

It helped me move from the mindset that I consider paganism--bringing myself and my praise to somehow fulfill or appease God--into Christian worship. I consider Christian worship where I come and receive from Christ in order to go back into the world.

Or as my younger grands see it, I don't go to a restaurant to feed the staff, but to be fed. And I don't go to church to fill God, but to be filled by Him.


Anonymous said...


I think the key thing in this situation is the intent of the worship leader as he spoke those words. Without talking to him, it is left up to human interpretation. Something I've learned the hard way is unless in a position of authority and given the responsibility to interpret ones actions (police, judge, jury, etc.), human interpretation alone with lead to miscommunications. That is why I say it is best to find out the speakers meaning. I agree with your viewpoint. I interpreted his prayer to go along with those view points and not against. But again that is my human interpretation.


Wade Burleson said...

Good point CD.

I remind everyone that there are thousands of times I speak, preach, and communicate words not based in truth. All of us do. It's unintentional, not a moral issue, and it doesn't define me, the music director or anyone else who misspeaks.

Christiane said...

the Incarnation affected how our human prayers changed . . . through the Incarnation, when the Son speaks to the Father, all of humanity is included in His prayers

even when we cannot consciously prayer, the Holy Spirit intervenes for us on our behalf

I would say that 'our' prayers both personal and in community, are interwoven into our relationship to our Creator, since 'God became Man and dwelt among us' and since it was revealed in sacred Scripture that the Holy Spirit is our Paraclete, He has 'come beside us' and when we pray, we are not 'alone' . . . we walk with God

I am aware that those in my faith see prayer differently, but still I am also aware that people of the Southern Baptist faith are deeply faithful and blessed by the same blessings of Christ's love in their own prayer lives . . .

I don't think we know how close we are to God . . . from moment to moment He sustains our very existence . . . whether we are conscious or not of His nearness, we are still in His keeping, and when we reach out to Him, He hears us, knowing already what it is that we are bringing before Him in prayer

God is the cause of all humanity's desire to reach out to Him . . . it is a human need, expressed universally in different ways . . . so prayer essentially is our RESPONSE to Him.

'sursum corda' . . . lift up your hearts to the Lord and walk 'with Him' in prayer and be forever blessed

Bob Cleveland said...

Talk about an eye-opener!!!

My mind was immediately transported to the time Peg and I walked from the tramway terminal atop Victoria Peak and saw the view over Hong Kong. It was breathtaking and I immediately said "WOW..." followed by other more detailed exclamations.

A few moments later, we walked around the terminal and saw the South China Sea. My reaction was "That's the SOUTH CHINA SEA!!!!" And I was completely blown away.

There was also the time we walked up to the rim of the Dry Falls National Monument in Washington state. The exclamations were the same.

Then I thought of what happens inside me when I see a newborn child, and that fact that there's almost always an exclamation of awe at this beautiful little creature.

Before I read this post, and listened to Sam's video, I had never ever thought of those things as signs of something healthy in me. Something that allows me to both appreciate something that's awe-inspiring, but also to express it.

The mere fact that God has made me capable of appreciating Him, given me the eyes to see Him, and sent His own Son to bring me such abundance simply doesn't allow me to remain silent about it.

He's said He inhabits the praises of His people. That's something HE does for US, not the other way around.


Wade Burleson said...

Beautiful said, Bob!

ScottShaver said...

Glad you wrote this.

Now I know why I feel uncomfortable standing 20 minutes for a praise band and sitting 2 1/2 minutes for the reading of scripture.

Gordon said...

Thanks for a great post.
"It's me, it's me O Lord! Standing in the need of prayer".

I have an inner need to express my worship and to give thanks to Him; to confess my sins and to ask God for His daily provision of my needs and the needs of others.

Prayer is not a 'crutch' on which to lean but rather 'wings' on which to 'soar'. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles..." (Isaiah 40:31).

Rex Ray said...

To some extent for man to praise God is like a flea telling an elephant how big he is.

What God wants from man is his thanks and love for Him loving us so much He executed His only Son that whosoever believes in Jesus will have unimaginable joy with Him for eternity.

Christiane said...

I agree with you about 'thanksgiving' and I hope you are well. Loved the flea/elephant line. Another winner! :)

Joe Blackmon said...

Tim Snider

Of COURSE Wade is going to be in line with the sorts of things Victoria Osteen and her husband Smilin' Joe believe. They preach a false gospel, so does Wade.

Anonymous said...

Joe Blackmon

I was not planning to comment again on this thread. I was modestly disappointed in Wade's response to my questions, especially in the point where he asserts I was 'assign(ing) camps of people on the basis of personality.' I had not assigned anything to anyone as yet, and any basis under consideration by me was in the written (WB) or spoken (VO) remarks on worship by both. I am still struck by the similarity of their remarks where I find WB's remarks acceptable, yet my camp finds VO's similar remarks so distasteful.

Anyway, my principal reason to jump back in is to clearly (FWIW) distance my name from what you wrote. I have never seen a shred of evidence that WB preaches a false gospel.

Perhaps my questions came across as a 'gotcha' and perhaps that garnered your enthusiasm or attention.

I just wanted to write in and, again, distance my remarks from what you wrote, and indicate that I am frequently taught and edified by WB's blog writings.

Tim Snider

Rex Ray said...

You are so kind.
I wish the comment after yours could be a small fraction of yours.

Anonymous said...

Don't you all believe that worship is our response to The Holy Spirit moving in us to bow down as close to our Father's throne as we can get and express our hearts to Him? I'm sure that was the intent of the worship leader's saying that their praise was "for" God and surely not intended to suggest they were giving God something that He "needed".

Isn't it always a challenge to express adequately what we feel in our hearts? It can always be misconstrued. Still, Wade does deserve credit for reminding us of how we should be humble recognizing God's omnipotence.

Christiane said...

I am sharing a portion of Imonk's Saturday post that mentions Pastor Saeed, in case you have not seen this. He needs our prayers for than ever:

". . . about Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith. Saeed has written a Christmas letter, which begins with these heart-rending words:

" Merry Christmas!

These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me." "

WADE, this is heart-breaking.

Christiane said...

when the Word becomes 'prayer':

O DAYSPRING (Zech 6:12; Lk 1:78),
Splendor of Eternal Light (Heb 1:3),
and Sun of Justice (Mal 4:2):
Come, and enlighten those that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death (Is 9:2; Lk 1:78-79).

Wade Burleson said...


I do apologize for not answering your questions to full satisfaction. I confess to probably not understanding the questions properly. Thanks for your forgiveness. I am going back and looking again at the questions and will respond with a more meaningful response.

Merry Christmas,


Wade Burleson said...


The gospel you and I preach is definitely different. I accept you believe mine is false. I believe I am proclaiming the pure grace of God in Jesus, but you are definitely entitled to an opinion.

Aussie John said...


I believe Richard Sibbes was spot on when he said:

“The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises and thanks to God; we should neither eat nor sleep, but eat to God and sleep to God and work to God and talk to God, do all to His glory and praise.”

Paul's words to the Colossians are relevant," For we are the real circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh...."

Kristen said...

Wade, with all respect, I think you have completely missed my point. You said,

"Kristen, I understand what you are saying, but it is precisely the opposite of what I am positing as truth. God appreciates, loves, cares, guides, protects, embraces, delights in, and sings over His people whether we give him beautiful flowers, ugly flowers, or NO FLOWERS at all. He doesn't need our worship to feel loved, and respond to us in appreciation."

If I tell you that I agree absolutely with your statement, but also that God does accept our gifts when we do give them-- not because they make Him feel loved, but because giving is an expression of OUR love just as much as any other expression we may make-- does that clarify what I mean?

Wade Burleson said...


Absolutely it makes sense.

Thanks for the clarification. I think I misunderstood this sentence - "Even if she doesn't like those kind of flowers, a wife will appreciate the love that prompted them. Even so, I think, does God."

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

Makes sense to me too!


Christiane said...

"Prayer is an act of love;
words are not needed.
Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love"

Teresa of Avila

Gordon said...

Milton concluded his sonnet: "God doth not need either man's work or his own gifts....His state is kingly. Thousands at His bidding speed and post o'er land and ocean."

Nor do we make God rich by giving, or make Him poor by withholding our money.

God does not need anything. God is complete and perfect. We are the ones dependent upon His grace and favor.

And- in the light of what has occurred in Paris in these past few days- God is not offended by man's insults and blasphemy. He is so great and far above such petty behavior that He laughs at silly attempts to belittle him. He needs no one to protect his name, and shoot the offender. Rather convince them : "Blessed are all who take refuge in him" (Psalm 2). A deity who needs our protection to survive is clearly too small, weak or worthy of worship. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is great !