Rachel is a passionate follower of Christ, wife to the man she’s totally in love with, mommy to the two cutest kids ever, piano teacher, pianist, worshipper, singer & songwriter. Her blog is Living the Blessed Life.
(The original post can be found here.)
What is worship? This is a question that has been weighing on mind for quite a while now. I have been pondering writing down my thoughts on it for some time also, but was unsure until confirmation to my doubt on this subject came recently. My personal quest for intimacy with God has caused me to come face to face in my own life with this question regarding worship and what exactly it means. And after having my mind renewed regarding this topic, and some researching on the subject, here are my thoughts.
First of all, I believe that the church today has a confused outlook on what it is. Actually, many have put it into a box, and created nothing more than a man-made ritual of what it is, what it looks like, and how one should go about it. So, in saying this I am going to share my thoughts on what God has revealed to me personally on what worship is, as well as what it is not. Let’s start with…what worship is not.
1. Worship IS NOT a “music style.” For those whose music tastes do not turn towards the more modern day approach to worship such as contemporary Christian, and praise and worship this is affirmation to you that this does not necessarily make you any more or any less of a worshipper. Although my personal preference regarding my love for praise and worship music itself could cause me to have a narrow minded approach to those who do not share this same taste; I realize, however, that God did not create everyone to love the same things, but He did create us all to love and worship Him. Whatever way He leads us to do so, is between us and God. Remember, we are seeking to please HIM.
2. Worship IS NOT an outward emotional experience. A ”worship experience” indicates a short lived span of time in which we sometimes could be prone to and be in danger of have nothing more than “an emotional experience” with ourselves. Does worship require us to be emotional? Certainly, there may be times when offering up worship to our Creator with a pure and sincere heart will cause our emotions to rise and tears may overflow as a result. But is this an indicator of a heart turned towards God in worship? Must there be this “outward show” in order for us to feel like we’ve been with God? My belief is simply, no. This is not always an accurate indicator. Nor should it be a gauge. The church today and the “worshippers” have once again put worship in a box. Tagging those around them as “worshippers” or “non-worshippers, “spiritually mature and non-mature” simply based upon what they see with their physical eyes. How much they jump, shout, cry, fall on their face…. the list goes on and on. For some time I struggled with viewing my role in a worship service as somewhat “constraining”. But the Lord has removed my conflict by showing me that my worship IS my instrument and my songs to Him. He, more than anyone else knows my heart. He knows that my desire is to lavish Him with the praise and the worship that He so deserves. And He, also, is the one who gave me the abilities that I have to use to the best of my ability in my role.
1 Samuel 16:7 NLT – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Mark 7:6 NLT Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you,” for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Isaiah 29:13 NLT And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”
Matthew 15:8 NLT “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
3. Worship IS NOT something that’s only done on Sunday in church. Some take pride in the fact they or their church puts on a good “show” in worship. They want to appear as though they have a intensely deep relationship with God by going out the their way, even morphing into a different personality than the one given to them by God to convince others around them and I believe sometimes themselves that they have “arrived” spiritually. I am amazed at people who claim to be Christians, some of which that take great pride in their “worship face” but sometimes I wonder. How do they “worship” with their lives the other 6 days and 23 hours a week? Do we live worship, or has it just become a Sunday morning experience? If so, it’s not enough. Are we living a life of worship through holy lives? The church today has forgotten about holiness, God still requires it in order for us to be pleasing to Him.
1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJ Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Psalm 29:2 NKJ Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
4. How worship should be carried out IS NOT absolutely defined:
Worship: Function: verb
1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
2 : to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
intransitive senses : to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship .
This definition of worship gives us an overview of what it means to worship. Which certainly does involve some form of outward expression at times; but it does not give a definitive way that is should be done by each person. Everyone has their own way of expressing worship to God. However, almost every time the Scripture gives reference to worship it does involve the raising of hands. The church should be careful not to turn worship into a show or performance. Sometimes depth can be found in quietness, humbleness, simplicity, and most of all realness.
Now in stating what it is not, let’s get to the good stuff! What it IS!!!!
Worship to me IS something that first of all begins with a heart that is turned toward God desiring not only to worship Him in outward form, but it first must begin with a heart in complete surrender to God, and God alone inwardly. That’s one of the reasons why in Scripture the raising of the hands is a sign of worship because the raising of the hands signifies surrender. To worship…you must have surrendered yourself completely to God. This is the first step.
I firmly believe more than anything WORSHIP IS A LIFESTYLE. It is not an experience, or something only done on Sunday at church. It is how you live your life for Christ all the rest of the time. When you are obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading about a personal issue in your life that He has convicted you of and you deal with it, THAT is worship. When you are given an opportunity to minister to someone else in their need, whatever it may be, and you obey, THAT is worship. When you love others unconditionally with His love, THAT is worship. When you daily surrender your mind, thoughts, words, actions, and choices to His control, THAT is worship.
When all these things are in line and functioning in our daily lives, worship on Sunday, or anytime for that matter will no longer be an issue. It will flow. Not primed and pumped, not manufactured, nor stale…it will flow as pure, unadulterated worship. I refuse to let my worship to my God be cast into a religious mold, I will, in fact, keep my heart pure, surrendered, and pleasing to God only at ALL times so that my worship when it comes forth will be a sweet fragrance to my Father. For me, worship is my life and the way I live it, my heart being turned towards Him, my instrument, my voice lifted to Him,….simple, pure, worship. So, just a little food for thought for today…… How do you worship?
I want to hear your opinions, Leave your comments!