What is Worship?
There are many different opinions and thoughts as to what worship is. Many claim to know the best style, based on songs, writers, bands, etc. The question remains, is worship more than just a Sunday church sing along? I say it is much more. It’s a way of life. These are my thoughts after leading in a church setting and living the Christian life over the last 15 years.
Some Christian churches have changed their worship styles. As is often the case with experiences, we have different impressions and reactions to worship styles. They try to adjust, to perform, to make everyone happy, to bring a state of comfort to the people in attendance. The hope is to lure them back for another Sunday. Leaning on the human strength, we trust that we can be good enough to create the right atmosphere.
I found myself in this situation early in my ministry years. People liked me. I was an ok singer, and had a truly talented music team to lean on. I was told that God had gifted me with the ability to lead worship, and so He did. But my life was not a life of constant worship. My devotional life lacked, my preparation time was minimal and I did not take it seriously. I truly leaned on my own strength. Eventually that attitude caught up with me and including immaturity, was part of the detriment of my marriage, ministry, and at that point I thought my life!
Truth be told, for worship to be acceptable to God, we must have obedient lives. The ritual is not enough – the attitude is what is most important. God does not want hypocritical worship, people who say he is great but do not act like it. If we are going to say that God is worthy of all worship, then we should believe it in our hearts, and if we believe it, it will show in our actions. Lorne Young form Activate Ministries puts it this way, “Worship is a life style. A life style that at all times acknowledges God's presence in our lives. Beyond the noise of life and the music that we play, worship is the praise that our lives give to God no matter what the circumstance”. Real worship changes everything we do, because it changes who we are. Worship must be in the heart, not just at the place of worship. Daniel in Daniel chapter 6 displayed this very thing when he continued to pray despite the circumstances that were in front of him. At times it takes guts to live a life of worship, but the effort is so worth it!
When we worship, we are saying that God has worth, that he is worthy. Many songs say just that like Darlene Zschech’s song “Worthy is the lamb”. Worship means to declare worth, to attribute worth. Or to put it in biblical terms, we praise God. We speak, or sing, about how good and powerful God is. Our worship is a response to what God has revealed himself to be, not only in who he is, but also in what he has done and is doing and will do in the future. Worship includes all our responses to God – including a response with our mind, such as our belief in God’s worthiness, our emotions, such as love and trust, and our actions and our words. Our heart expresses itself in words and songs; our mind is active when we want to learn what God wants us to do, and our bodies and strength are involved when we obey and when we serve.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”. Even though I lead worship regularly, my goal is to inspire people to grab on to the heart of God kind of like what Paul said. To take what we sing about and imply it to their daily, weekly Christian lives. To not only sing before God in church, but to dance before the Lord as David did in 2 Samuel 6:14, and life in general. That’s the goal.
I am by no means perfect, but I strive to be more like God always. Perfection is unattainable, but in Matthew 5:48 Jesus asks us, “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. In other words, strive, chase, follow, and run after Him with all your effort, to get there, to please the heart of God. When you do, God will be pleased with your life. Let’s go after it together!
"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Psalm 150
Statements taken from:
Michael Morrison’s Article – What is worship? http://www.wcg.org/lit/spiritual/worship/worship1.htm
Lorne Young – Activate Ministries http://www.activateministries.com/