What is Christian worship? Many would answer this question the same way they would describe how they came to faith in Jesus: I grew up with it, or it is just what I do on Sundays. Worship for others might involve singing songs, listening to a message, sharing in communion, and hearing a message from a speaker. True Christian worship is so much more than singing songs and Bible studies. It is not entertainment nor how it makes us feel or not feel. Worship is not a spectator sport but about humbling ourselves to our almighty God as we live our lives all to His glory.
We are made to worship God!
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians” (Psalm10:31 31).
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:1–5).
What it means to truly worship is found in Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”
We can worship God properly not by our strength but by God’s mercy on us. Jonathan Edwards wrote about mercy. “God is pleased to show mercy to His enemies, according to His sovereign pleasure. Though He is infinitely above all and stands in no need of creatures; yet He is graciously pleased to take a merciful notice of poor worms in the dust.”
God demonstrates His mercy in the forgiveness of sins to all who believe. No human deserves such love, peace, joy, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, security, freedom, grace, and so much more. Understanding the depth of God’s mercy should motivate us to live out our lives praising and thanking God for such outrageous love. The lives of those refusing God’s mercy will be disastrous.
Our sinful human nature wants us to live for our own pleasure; me first, God second. Paul tells us to turn away from self to God “by the renewing of your mind.” Again, this pushes us toward total dependence on God. Daily we need to turn away from selfish pleasures and choose to live as Jesus would have us live. Seeking God’s wisdom is a huge part of our worshiping God. Praying, reading God’s Word for answers and direction, and seeking godly wisdom from other Christians is worship that pleases God.
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ’” (I Corinthians 2:12-16).
In an age where the vast majority of people believe there is no truth, they try to worship God out of their own experiential understanding of truth. Jesus said He is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 10:10). To know the One True God and the truth from scripture is how God designed us to worship Him. When the heart and attitude of the person are focused on God for His glory alone, we worship God in a way that honors Him.
Worship is reserved for God alone. As we live in love and obedience with God through the Holy Spirit alone, we fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. Worship is reserved only for God. Only He is worthy and no one else. We also should not be worshiping for the expectation of something in return, such as miraculous healing, getting married, or getting rich. Worship is done for God alone for His pleasure, not ours alone. God is omniscient and cannot be fooled; he sees our hypocrisy, and hates it. As imperfect as we all are, it pleases God when we choose to praise and worship God with all our hearts, soul, and mind.
“Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6)