In past years I have listened to many thoughts on the subject of worship. Well-meaning Christians have offered these ideas in the form of complaints, criticisms, “biblical” beliefs, opinions and “helpful advice.”
In a sincere pursuit to discover the meaning of what appears to be an ambiguous word, I have attempted the challenge of determining a definition for worship. How can there be so many interpretations of one word, and how can God expect us to accomplish the act when we can’t seem to agree on what it is? The following statements reveal testimonials that have remained in my mind for some years and have yet again pushed their way to the forefront:
• “I can only worship when we’re singing hymns, and I have to sing them out of the hymnal. Putting the words up on a screen doesn’t help because I need to be able to read the music to sing my part.”
• “The music has to be more “edgy” or the younger people will leave their churches in favor of others that “do it better.”
• “I don’t like it when they use all of those colored lights on the wall; we need more plants up there so it will be warmer and “homey.”
• “I haven’t worshipped in my church for several years because the worship people just can’t get it right.”
• “We need to do more ‘current’ music like the ones they do on Christian radio, because EVERYONE knows those songs and those are the ones I like to sing.”
• “I want to be led by a man playing a guitar because that’s the kind of leadership my generation can relate to.
• “Young people should not lead worship because they’re not spiritually mature and they wear jeans in church. What’s this world coming to?”
• “I loved the worship in our church this morning; they did all of my favorite songs.”
In recalling these statements, it would appear that most are self-centered and the result of personal taste. Not one comment gave insight to what God says about worship, so I opened my Bible and sought His advice.
In Romans we learn that we are to give ourselves to God as an offering and focus all of our love and attention on Him. Romans 12:1 (NLV) And so, dear brothers and sisters, 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.
In 1 Timothy we are told to pray for everyone and ask God for His help in their lives. 1 Timothy 2:1(NLT) I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
In Hebrews we are to be thankful and worship God with fear and trepidation! Hebrews 12:28 (NLV) Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.
In 1 Peter we are to worship Him with our hearts and to adore Him and to tell the world about Him! 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT) Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
In Psalm 113 we learn that we are to Praise God forever, from the time we get up, until the time we go to bed. Psalm 113:2-3 (NIV) Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.
After spending a few minutes in God’s Word, I found out some truths about what worship is, and I found out what it isn’t. Worship is not about me or my opinions! It is all about God - and though we often actively worship God through song……worship is not and has never been about the music!
Like the Israelites in the desert, we continue to test God’s patience with our complaining, our rebellion and our stubborn unfaithfulness. How long will He hand out mercy instead of anger, forgiveness instead of fury. Oh my God, only You are worthy of my praise……only You, Lord.
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