2010-11-02 - What is Worship?
Sunday morning my pastor at Luthersville Baptist Church preached on worship and he kind of disturbed the whole church process in doing so. We heard his message first then the song special followed by offering and congregational songs. But the message was good. I have also been struggling with teens who just don't get the power and beauty of worship. Many of you may be in that same boat with the youth or with members of my congregation so I thought I'd revisit an old piece I fleshed out before my CF Devotionals days. It's based on a lesson I prepared back on February 4, 2002.
Here I am to worship,
This chorus has been on my mind a lot lately. Here I am to worship. What does that mean exactly. I understand clearly the bowing down part and saying stuff about God but the worship part is a little fuzzy. So I decided to read up on "worship". When studying on the things of God what better place to go than the word of God.
Worship is important to God. This Psalm suggests worship keeps us in touch and in tune with God. If we fall out of that relationship then we'll be like the generation that never got to see the Promised Land. They did not thank God, they second-guessed his plans, and they paid homage to a golden calf. When it comes to worship, we have a choice: we can be as rotting carcasses in the desert or we can be alive and worshipping God. We use the word worship a lot. We have "praise and worship songs". We attend "worship services". But what is worship?
Well I looked it up in a book that gave the definitions of words used in the time the King James Bible was written. In the 1600's, the word meant "to show due honor and respect to human beings as well as God". Merriam-Webster online defines it now as: to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power or to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion. No matter the definition, worship has to do with showing respect and honor.
Worship Starts with a Desire
Worship can't just be something we do but something we really desire to do. 2 Corinthians 9:7 states, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." And worship is a gift we give to God. He gives back to us in worship so much more than we give him but it begins as a gift from man to God.
David wrote, "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." (Psalm 27:4) David wanted to worship. You can see the reflections of his worship throughout the Book of Psalms. Though they weren't all written by him, the words praise and worship appear 165 times in Psalms. It was important. It was David's desire and he was the man after God's own heart.
A Desire to Worship leads to Actions of Worship - Inward and Outward
As I thought of the ways we can worship. I came up with three.
First and foremost is praise - just thanking Him. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Corrie Ten Boom once observed, "You just collect roses, the praise and compliments, during the day; you hold them, put them together in a bouquet, then at the end of the day, you get on your knees and say, 'Here, Father, these were yours all along. I just held them for you." (Stand Firm, Feb. 2004) In both that good and bad look for reasons to praise God. If life just really stinks at the moment, praise God that you are fortunate enough to have life this day; some never woke up this morning. Look for the good and the bad won't seem so big.
Next we worship God through our devotion to Him - doing His will rather than your own. We show our devotion through obedience to God. Jesus so clearly portrayed this as he prayed in the garden. He was worried and upset. He did not want to die. He didn't want to go through all the suffering he knew lay in the coming hours. And yet he prayed, "Not my will but thine be done." (Luke 22:42) And we show our devotion to him thru our willingness to sacrifice. No I'm not talking about offering blood sacrifices like in Old Testament times but giving of our resources like talents, time and money. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2) When we surrender fully to Him, we will worship Him through the offering of our lives and the resources in our lives
Third, we worship Him through prayer and study. We show respect and honor through a growing relationship with him. We may learn more to grow closer to him. Psalm 119:18 says, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."
Worship Continues with Commitment
Worship is not a one-hour thing we do to God or for God. It should affect every aspect of our life. It is not about showing up at a building at pre-determined times. Worship is a lifestyle that should affect us 24/7/365. It is a way of life. John 4:24 (NASB) says, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Truth can also be understood as reality. So we are to spiritually worship him and worship him in our honest, real everyday lives.
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise specified.