What is Worship?
As believers we are called to give praise to God because He is worthy. I called to the Lord who is worthy of praise (2 Samuel 22:4). Great is the LORD ! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness (Psalm 145:3). Praise is something that God deserves, but are called to worship Him. In the book of Revelations, an angel commanded John not to worship the angel but to worship only God! I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. 9 But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God” (Revelations 9:22)! So knowing that we are supposed to worship. Let’s breakdown what worship is and what it looks like.
- How do you personally define worship?
"To worship in spirit is to draw near to God with an undivided heart. "- Erwin Lutzer
Before defining worship I think we should reprogram some misconceptions about what worship is. Worship is normally represented as singing songs to God and about God. But it is so much more than just singing songs. Singing is an act of worship but we must understand that it is not worship if our hearts aren’t in the right place or else we would call every secular artist a worship singer. In Isaiah 29 it talks about church people in Jerusalem who say they are mine, they honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me (Isaiah 29:13-14). We should not get acts OF worship confused with TRUE worship.
We should also understand that praise is not worship either. Praise is truthful acknowledgement of good acts done by God. One can acknowledge that the trees and mountains are amazing and beautiful and can acknowledge God as being the creator of the world but can be an unbeliever of the gospel of Jesus. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands (Psalms 63:4). This passage of scripture notes praise forever AND, something separate from praise, the lifting of his hands in the name of Jesus, which is worship. This proves that praise and worship are correlated terms but are not equivalent to one another.
- Have you ever noticed yourself doing what looks like worship, but really thinking to yourself, why am I doing this?
True worship is personal for each follower of Christ and it’s more about the posture of the heart than the act that derives from it. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). We must worship God in the spirit, meaning the Holy Spirit that was given to us upon salvation. The Holy Spirit helps us by worship by praying to God on our behalf (Romans 8:26), teaching us God’s word (John 14:26), and reminding us of promises of God’s love (Romans 5:5).
John 4 also says it must be in truth. We must worship God with complete authenticity. Not the way your church does it, not the way your culture does it, not according to how we feel. We should only worship the way God explains it in His word which is the ultimate truth. A good definition of worship is the direct acknowledgement of 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 acknowledgement.
- How have your views changed when it comes to worship? How does this definition change how you worship?
Ways To Worship
In Romans 12, it states I please with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. A living sacrifice requires dying to ourselves or putting ourselves last before the living God in acknowledgment of all He is and what He has done for us through the life of Jesus Christ. One cannot sacrifice their life and please themselves at the same time. Total sacrifice is what God finds acceptable. There are a number of ways to worship according to scripture, but the most important is all about how these acts are done, your intent behind it, and where your heart is when doing it.
- Next time you are at church, be sure to bask in God’s glory and dwell on all of His promises and of the things he’s done in your life. Seek Him and be open to entering into a place of worship. It may be difficult to worship on someone else’s queue because it’s not your own but praising God for all He has done can definitely bring you a place where you can connect with God on a more intimate level.
- Share with a friend the definition of true worship and discuss with them their personal experiences of worship versus acts of worship? Were you pressured because everyone else was doing it? Did someone ask you to?
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Holy Spirit and your word, sent for us to connect with you on a more intimate level. Your word says we should worship you in spirit and in truth. It also says true worship is when 100% sacrifice our lives for you and bring glory to your name with all that we do. Through your word and Holy Spirit mold our hearts for true worship. Help us understand true worship is an inward act that comes out of the heart to an outward act of praise. You look at the posture of our heart, not the position of our hands because you don’t need our works for you have created everything! Lord change us for your will and thank you for your son Jesus as an example for us. In Jesus name we pray all of these things. Amen.