This past Sunday I mentioned our need to truly worship God. In a day when the word “worship” is often confused with singing certain kinds of songs, I feel the need this week to describe and define what I mean when I refer to worship. As you may have already noted, I used the word engage when referring to worship. You see worship refers to an entire lifestyle rather than just 20-30 minutes on a Sunday morning while the band is playing and we are singing. I was reminded this week that the first occurrence of the word worship in in Genesis when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham said to his servant that he and the boy were going to worship God and then return. Here we get the idea that worship means obedience – even when that obedience requires great sacrifice and dedication. In Romans 12:1 we read that presenting our bodies as living, holy sacrifices to God is our logical and reasonable service of worship to God. In neither of these two references is singing or music even remotely a part of the worship God received. What He did receive though was a complete dedication and surrender of someone to Him. Romans makes it clear that such a total surrender is the logical and reasonable thing to do – if we are thinking rightly.
So how does a Sunday morning worship service work into a proper view of worship. First of all I would have to say that just worshipping on a Sunday morning is contrary to Biblical worship. If we are not worshipping God all during the week, what we do on a Sunday morning can do more harm that good in our lives. Now I know that last sentence may have shocked some people. How can this be true? But this really does have everything to do with a Biblical definition of worship rather than a religiously cultural one. If worship is to be a lifestyle – then all we do every day can and should be worship unto God. If worship is to be a lifestyle – our whole lives should be spent seeking to honor and glorify God. This should show in how we surrender ourselves to God – and how we seek to live before Him no matter what we do. For the person who views worship merely as something we do as we sing on Sunday or when we hear “worship music” – worship becomes something divorced from an every day, every choice lifestyle. There is another Biblical word for that kind of “music-only-worship” . . . hypocrisy. You see when we do not live for the glory of God in all we do – all week long – and then show up on Sunday and sing emotionally charged songs to God – we are simply being emotionally driven hypocrites. True worship flows from all of life – not from the emotions we feel when really cool worship songs start to play – or – when we feel wonderful hymns move us in our hearts.
When I pray that we will engage with God in worship – it means that we will truly turn to Him every moment of every day. If this has not been happening during the week – the best thing we can do on a Sunday morning is start the worship service by getting on our knees and engaging God in repentance and confession of sin. That will do more to incite true worship than any song in any style that plays. We desire to meet with God – to engage Him as we give our lives to Him. Out of that flows true worship. There are times when we begin singing that I am not in a position to engage with God through singing, praise, and adoration. I need to engage in admission of sin and confession of the same. Other times I need to engage in seeing the worldliness and deadness of my own heart – and cry for mercy and for His gracious reviving in my spirit. Some times I am in pain emotionally and need to cry out to Him to give me hope and heal my broken heart. And – to be painfully honest – some Sundays, I need to choose to sing praises – to honor – to adore – to magnify Him - as a sacrifice because I don’t have any emotion or excitement at all. It is a matter of choosing to do what is right – what is Scriptural as I offer up a sacrifice of praise simply because He is worthy of it.
Precious saints of God, worship is not a matter of exciting or moving songs in the midst of a spiritually supercharged moment. Worship is a matter of choice – and that choice is one we make moment by moment. It is doing all that we do – whether we eat, drink, sing, work, play, or any other activity – and doing it to the glory of God! It is something we do every day of the week – every time of day – and every moment we live. What we experience on a Sunday often is just a culmination of how we’ve been worshipping all week long. So with that in mind – my prayer for you and for me is that we live a life of worship all week long – and that such a life culminates in a wonderful experience of worship corporately as we engage God on Sunday in a similar way that we’ve engaged Him every other day this week. Here’s to a lifestyle of worship to His glory.