What comes to your mind when you think of Worship? A group of people singing hymns and praise songs? Prayers that declare God’s Nature and Attributes?
Do you ever get tired of this world? Do you get tired of the monotony of life and seek a higher, more exciting plane? Do you ever long to leave all the filth and degradation behind, for just a little while? Would you like a break sometime—to just get away from it all, and go to a place where you can just leave it all behind? That is what worship does
Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. Bringing pleasure to God is called worship. The Bible says “The Lord is pleased only with those who worship him and trust his love”. Like a diamond, worship is multifaceted. It would take volumes to cover all there is to understand about worship.
Worship means different things to different people. From Catholicism to Protestantism, all denominations define worship in terms of their traditional thinking and cultural conditioning. For some it is nothing more than a pitiful excuse for a pathetic display of painstaking spirituality. For others it is a means of attaining eccentric esoteric experiences – a spiritual state supposedly superior to others.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament word combine not only physical posture and expression in worship, but also the words we pray or sing as we interact with the Scriptures. We do this activity solely to honor the Lord. Regardless of whether I worship by myself, or with my family or roommates, in a home fellowship group, a Bible study, a Sunday School class, or an all-church service of worship, we do it to focus on the Lord.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines worship in two views
- The practice of showing respect to God, by singing with others, saying prayers.
- A strong feeling of love and respect for someone or something
However, it is well known that dictionary definitions are insufficient to fully determine the meaning of a word or idea but only a Christian, one who sees through the eyes of faith, can appreciate the eternal value and the absolute spiritual necessity of learning to bow down before our Lord God in adoring veneration.
Worship is hard To Define. It is not really defined in Scripture—it is shown, but not explained. The primary Old Testament term translated “worship” means “to bow down… to prostrate oneself” and the primary New Testament term literally means “to kiss toward”. “It may be regarded as the direct acknowledgment to God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims. Whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving… or by deed done in such acknowledgment” (W.E. Vine)
Worship is a spiritual exercise. It is an exercise of the mind and heart, more than just an action of the body. Time and time again people are so sidetracked by the rituals of worship that they miss the true essence of humility before God, love for one another and a holy life.
Anthropologists have noted that worship is a universal urge, hard-wired by God into the very fiber of our being- an inbuilt need to connect with God. Worship is as natural as eating or breathing. If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if ends up being ourselves. The reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshipers.
Depending on your religious background, you may need to expand your understanding of ‘’worship”. You may think of church services with singing, praying and listening to as sermon. Or you may think of ceremonies, candles, and communion. Or you may think of healing, miracles, and ecstatic experiences. Worship can include these elements, but worship is far more these expressions. Worship is a lifestyle.
Worship is far more than music. If Worship was just music, then all who are nonmusical could never worship. Every part of a church service is an act of worship: praying, Scripture reading, singing, confession, silence, being still, listening to a sermon, taking notes, giving an offering, baptism, communion and even greeting other worshippers.
Worship has nothing to do with the style or volume or speed of a song. God loves all kinds of music because He invented it all- fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship.
Frankly, the music style you like best says more about you- your background and personality- than it does about God. God likes variety and enjoys it all.
These two definitions, adoration and service, hold each other in a creative tension. They reinforce each other. If we are to be Biblical, we cannot have one definition without the other. Without adoring veneration on a regular basis our service becomes empty, barren activity. There is little sense of the eternal perspective in what we do. On the other hand, without the regular choice to live out the moral and ethical implications of worship through a lifestyle of obedience, times of praise and worship become hypocrisy.
If you have ever said, “I didn’t get anything out of worship today,” you worshiped for the wrong reason. Worship isn’t for you. It’s for God. Of course, most “worship” services also include elements of fellowship, edification and evangelism and there are benefits to worship, but we don’t worship to please ourselves. Our motive is to bring glory and pleasure to our Creator. God’s heart is not touched by tradition in worship, but by passion and commitment.
Worship is not a part of your life, it is your life. Worship is not just for church services. We are told to “worship him continually” and to “praise him from sunrise to sunset”. In the Bible, people praised God at work, at home, in battle, in jail and even in bed! Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes in the morning and the last activity when you close them at night. David said, “I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always praise Him”. Our motivation for a lifestyle of worship is God’s merciful love.
Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory and pleasure of God. Martin Luther said, “A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God” Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence. Real worship is all about falling in love with Jesus
We are commanded to give to our LORD the honor and respect due His Name! We are also commanded to worship, or prostrate ourselves before Him. When was the last time you fell on your face in worship of your LORD? It is at once a humbling and inspiring experience! And lest we think our beautiful buildings and fashionable apparel can garner God’s pleasure, David instructs us to worship in holiness … in the purity of our hearts and minds, for only such worship will God accept.
Worship proclaims our dependence on God. Worship is always offered to a greater being from a lesser being. God does not need our worship but He does seek it as an expression of our love and communion with Him.
Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful Wednesday!