January 21, 2015
Worship? What is worship, really? Let’s start with a definition from the New Oxford American Dictionary: Noun – the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. But let’s focus not on the “feeling” but on the “expression” of reverence and adoration for a deity, and not just any deity, but the one true God. Feelings come and go but expression is a decision. How do we express our reverence and adoration toward God?
Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and spiritual act of worship.”
It’s interesting that when we speak of worship in the church, we often mean the musical portion of the Sunday service. “Wow, worship was great today. I loved that song by Third Day.” Worship can happen during “praise” or during the delivery of the message, but it’s also possible that worship of God doesn’t occur at either time. Worship doesn’t magically happen. You see, worship is a product of the decisions that pour out of our heart. That’s why I focus so much on the importance of Decision-Making. To me it is so critical to our functioning, that I call it the Spiritual Discipline of Decision-Making. In fact, I believe it is the more important than any other spiritual discipline.
The direction of worship is also important. It’s upward, from us to HIM. It’s not about how songs made us feel or which instruments were played. In fact, it’s not about music at all. It’s about pouring out our love, appreciation, adoration, and hearts to God, really perceiving Him accurately.
Let me give an example. Imagine that your spouse, child, or best friend has been shipped overseas and you haven’t seen or heard from him in years. Out of the blue, a call comes in telling you to head to the airport because there is a surprise waiting. When you get to the airport, an unmistakable smile reaches your eyes from the distance. Your heart pounds, and when the person is within your reach, you run and wrap your arms around him. You cry tears of joy and squeeze him, not wanting to let go ever again. You pour out words of love. “I love you so much! I missed you! You have no idea how much you mean to me!” You lavish him with your love.
We worship God when we pour our hearts out to Him. The difference between pouring out to God and pouring out to a best friend is in the recognition of position, that God is high and lifted up. He is holy and awesome. With your friend or relative, the position is theoretically equal. But worship acknowledges that our position is not equal with God. He is God and we are not. He does indeed love us, but He will not bow down to us.
Worship is also about posture, not our physical posture (although it can certainly lead us to fall to our knees in prayer). It’s more of a reflection of our heart’s posture. It comes out of a humble heart. It’s impossible to be prideful and boastful before God when you truly worship.
Today, you will worship something. Now, pay close attention to what the object of your worship is. Most of the time, that object is our self in one form or another, or something man-made … trying to meet our own needs or get the comfort we desire. Shift the focus of your worship to God. He is the only one worthy of anyone’s worship. Your life will dramatically change if you can make this directional shift. Edging Forward is a great resource to help you examine and orient your worship properly. Whether you worship God, the Creator, or you worship the created, yourself or something you make, is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, You are the only One worthy of my praise. Thank You for the privilege of worshipping You. Please help me to see You high and lifted up, but also accessible whenever and wherever I need You. Remind me daily that worship isn’t about how I feel. Instead it’s a decision and choice I make. I love You because You first loved me, and proved it by sending Your only son to die for me. By the power of the Holy Spirit help me to offer myself as a living sacrifice to You – holy and pleasing. I pray in the name of the One who is worthy of my praise, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” Luke 4:8
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1