What is worship?
When reflecting on what worship is we often refer to our denomination, upbringing, or even our preference. But the most common fact regarding our personal thoughts toward worship is our constant attention to the FORM of worship, rather than the PURPOSE.
Why is there such a priority on form? Having the songs, style, and variety aligned with our preference? While the premise of purpose is often lost and misunderstood? Until we truly experience the presence of God and respond in love, we are FAR from true worship.
Because of this, we must prioritize the PURPOSE of worship and lessen our attention to it’s FORM. In fact, nowhere in the New Testament does it suggest a certain form of worship. When we experience the presence of God, form becomes secondary. Not that we remove discussions of form, but the forms are not worship, they are merely a tool that leads us to worship. It leads us to experience the presence of God.
The purpose of Worship is to know and to experience the PRESENCE of God and then respond from the heart by LOVING God above all other things. And soon that experience of his presence explodes into acts of praise by singing, dancing, raising of our hands etc. But first, we must know who God is. We must experience who God is. We must see who God is!
When we experience the presence of God, everything changes. When Isaiah saw the glory of God, everything crumbled (Is. 6:5). All his wreckage and ruin was exposed and he recognized how far he was from God. Our sinful condition becomes clear when compared to the holiness of God. That white lie is recognized for what it truly was. That “harmless” glance is exposed for what it was. When we experience the presence of God, the activity of our flesh is silenced, and the activity of the Spirit dominates. Worship begins as a Holy experience and ends in Holy obedience. When we experience the presence of God, we experience transformation. And we give him praise that he is due.
One reason why worship must be considered a discipline is because this transformation that we seek, must happen more than once a week! And the love that Jesus deserves must be expressed more than once a week! We need the constant transformation through the presence of God, which will be found in a LIFESTYLE of worship. Pursued in everyday contexts outside of the traditional “form” of worship that we so desire. We must pursue the purpose of worship within different kinds of forms. But how do pursue the purpose of worship as a lifestyle?
Here are some ways how...
1. Practice God’s Presence daily.
a. Consider Paul’s words in 1 Thess. 5:17, to “Pray without ceasing”.
b. Practice to make every moment connected to the reality that God is present! Softly speaking adorations, praise, and thanksgiving to God throughout the day!
c. If we engage in this consistently, it will create a greater expectancy for worship Sunday mornings as well.
2. Look for different opportunities to worship.
a. Worship God when you’re alone, in the car, at the worship night!
b. Many things can happen in a smaller intimate group that cannot be achieved in large group settings.
c. These moments will fuel your desire to experience God in Sunday service as well. That others would experience the same thing you have.
3. Offer a sacrifice.
a. A major trend these days, is worshiping when we “feel” it.
b. Regardless of our thoughts, emotions, and opinions. God is worthy of praise!
c. We choose to worship God ESPECIALLY when it’s not easy.