What worship really is


For years the church talked a lot about the holiness of God and the righteousness of God, and for years the church told us we should have the fear of God.

When you walked into a church sanctuary, there was a reverent tone.

But then there was a swing in the other direction.

Of course, it’s a good thing to talk more about the love of God, the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God. But I wonder whether we have, in some ways, gone too far that way.

Should we not talk about both?

Should we not talk about a loving, gracious, forgiving Father who longs for a relationship with us, but not leave out the fact that he is holy and righteous and just?

This is important, because the Lord himself says, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16 NKJV).

I had the privilege of being around during the Jesus Movement when what we called contemporary worship was born.

But one thing we must never lose sight of is this: When we worship, it’s more than just singing. It’s more than just closing your eyes; it’s opening your eyes to a lost world that desperately needs the Gospel.

“Worship is giving your life to God every day. It’s giving your mind, your heart and your thoughts to God.

Worship is practical. It happens before church, and it happens after church. Worship is not only singing; it’s serving.

In Romans chapter 12, the apostle Paul wrote, “I plead 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” (NLT).

Then he went on to say, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (verse 2 NLT).

Paul was basically saying that worship isn’t only singing. It isn’t only praying.

Worship is giving your life to God every day. It’s giving your mind, your heart and your thoughts to God.

Worship is also giving financially to God. It’s being a loving husband or wife. Worship is being a single person who lives a pure life. Worship is working hard with honesty and integrity. These are all acts of worship.

In fact, if we are not worshiping from the right heart, God says that he doesn’t want to hear our music anymore.

Speaking in the Old Testament book of Amos, God said, “Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living” (5:23–24 NLT).

That’s why Jesus said, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 NLT).

We worship him because he is worthy. The word worship comes from an old English word that could be translated “worthship.”

In other words, we worship a God who is worth it.

He deserves our praise.

The word worship also means “to ascribe worth or value to someone or something.” Continue reading

  • Greg Laurie (pictured) founded Harvest Christian Fellowship of which he is the senior pastor. Harvest Christian Fellowship was born when Greg was 19.
  • Image: Outreach Magazine
Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: , ,