Did you know the word worship is used 496 times in the NLT version of the Bible? 496 times. Do you think worship is important to God?
You and I were created to worship and we will worship someone or something. It’s built in. I think that’s why God spoke about it so often. Who, what, and how we worship is important to Him.
Who – Followers of Jesus know who we worship . . . the Triune God—Father, Son (Jesus), and Spirit.
I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. Exodus 20:5
We tend to think of “other gods” as those worshipped by other religions . . . Allah, Buddha, etc. But is it possible that even followers of Jesus have a struggle with worshipping lower-case gods. Celebrities. Ourselves. Our children. I wonder. Maybe the who is harder than we think.
What – We shouldn’t have any whats but that can be hard.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13
Then there’s this. Oh, how we love to worship our stuff. Anything that gives us comfort or makes us look good. I won’t mention any specifics because, well . . . we’d be here for days.
How – So many ways to worship, but Jesus summed up the how in one sentence.
For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
We make it so much more complicated don’t we? We disagree more on worship style than on anything else. There is traditional, contemporary, rock, folk, liturgical, non-liturgical, with instruments, without instruments, dancing, clapping, raised hands, bowed heads, and I’m sure I’ve missed something. There are as many worship styles as there are churches.
What does how we worship have to do with freedom?
I’ll be honest here. I think I’ve experienced almost every one of those worship styles at one time or another and although I have my preferences that’s all they are . . . preferences.
[Tweet “There is no one right or wrong way to worship. Oh, wait! Yes, there is.”]
The one and only right way to worship God is “in spirit and truth.” That’s it!
Not the right kind of music or formula. Not how the service sounds or what it looks like. Worship is a matter of the heart and the mind. (spirit and truth)
What does it mean to worship in spirit (heart) and truth (head)?
Worshipping in spirit is God’s Holy Spirit uniting with our hearts and filling us with awe and adoration for the King of kings and Lord of lords. I call it take my breath away awe. It can happen at any time and any place.
Worshipping in truth is knowing Jesus and what He taught about His Father . . . through Bible study, prayer and yes, the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
The right way to worship is not about me. It’s not about you either. It’s about the Spirit helping us to set our hearts and minds on the awesome God of the universe. It’s about singing loud or singing soft. Clapping or not. Even dancing like David on occasion.
Worship is about setting aside my preferences and focusing on God.
Do you ever sit there during a service and think:
- I hate this song.
- Wow, that musician is terrible.
- I can’t believe the reader wore that to church.
- The pastor really didn’t hold my attention today.
- Why can’t we just go back to the way things used to be?
- What is wrong with this music, you can’t even sing along?
Okay, that’s enough. And yes, I’m guilty of some of those myself.
My resolution going forward in The Faith Project is to remember that worship is not about me.
I’m going to say it again.
Worship is not about me.
It’s not about you either.
Worship is setting our hearts and minds on praising God. Not just when we’re gathered with other followers, but every day.
It’s about stopping daily to sit at His feet and worship Him. Praising God for who He is even more than I thank Him for what He does.
And then, when I’m gathered with others turn my heart and mind from my preferences and surrender my all to Him. Isn’t that really what worship is about anyway?
If you were blessed by this . . . please tell your friends.