18 April, 2006

So What Is Worship and Why Do We Do It?

Yeah, I’m back there on worship again. I just can’t seem to get away from this for long. It seems to me that 90% or more of the church world (I purposely do not use the term “Body of Christ” here) thinks that worship is what we do when the music starts at church. For others, it may include when the music starts at home, or where ever they may be. The point is, they think worship is what we do when the music plays. While this is (can be) worship, it is only a small part of worship.

I have been wrestling with these questions: “What is worship?” and “What is the purpose of worship?” While I certainly do not have all of the answers, I do recognize first of all that the purpose of our worship is to glorify, honor, praise, exalt, and please God. To accomplish this, I am convinced that our worship must show our adoration and loyalty to God. Those two words are critical to understand, and I am really afraid that most of those who attend church really have no clue to the concept of adoration and loyalty to Christ. One cannot really “worship” God if they are not totally devoted and steadfastly committed to Him. Another word for loyalty is faithful. How many can really say they are “faithful” to coming to church as often as they can. Statements like these reveal the truthfulness of where our heart’s desire lies: “Sorry I missed church Pastor, but we had a family cookout.” “I would have been there Sunday, but it was such a pretty day, and I had so much yard work to do.” Need I go on? I didn’t think so. The truth is, when you are committed, faithful and loyal, your first priority is toward Christ, and serving him, and you will make the effort to schedule your life in such a way that other “things” do not pre-empt the time of worship. Period. End of story. We don’t call in to work and say, “Sorry, I would like to be there today, but I have yard work to do” (or a family dinner, or what ever). You would not have a job very long! Why? They EXPECT loyalty and faithfulness from you as an employee to be there when you are scheduled; and if you are not, then they will find someone who is! The truth is, we make excuses and try to justify ourselves with “God understands my heart” statements. The fact is, He DOES understand our heart, and he sees that many people say they love Him and go through the motions of “worship” when it is convenient, but their lives tell a different story.

James 4:6, 10 tells us, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up". Our worship to God is a very humble and reverent action. Part of humility is laying our own wants and desires down and expending ourselves to meet His desire. What is His desire? For us to worship Him.

Jesus says in John 4:23-24, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." It doesn’t say we can worship God anyway we want and when we want, but we "must worship Him in spirit and in truth". The word "must" makes it absolute. There is no room for negotiation. There is no other way we can worship God and be acceptable to Him. The word "must", according to Webster, expresses "an obligation, a requirement, a necessity, a certainty, and something that must be done". When "must" is used it means that it is not optional. Here the word "must" is expressing that in spirit and in truth is the only way to acceptably worship God.

(To be continued...)


Deborha's Palm Tree said...

Preach it preacher! Awesome entry! Because of my job requirements I can't be in church every Sunday, our Sunday AM service starts at 10:45 and the church I attend is about 30-40 minutes away. My hearts desire is to be 'in service', in every service! Not just showing up out of duty or tradition. I don't understand how anyone who claims to love the Lord would miss out on corporate worship. All I can say is ... God have YOUR way in our lives...! Change the hearts and agendas of those who are YOURS and BE GLORIFIED! God Bless you pastor...I really appreciate the shepherd's heart God has given you and we are praying for you and yours!

Amy said...

great post, im definitly being convicted here!! for the past two weeks I have not been doing my mornings with God routine, and i feel it, i do praise him and pray many times through out the day but havent ""devoted"" my time to him.thank you for this post its redirecting me and getting me back on track.

Sean McKee said...

You are on it Darrell.

One thing I have noticed is that people's 'mindset' is not God focused when worshipping. To them worship is all about getting themselves 'recharged' or 'in the right mood'. These are good by products of worship but they should not be the purpose.

Our purpose should be God focused. It's all about God, like you said, humbling ourselves.

When one 'does worship' to get their 'spiritual fix' it is still all about me. I dare say even leaning torwards idolatry.