A lot of us would like to continue to move forward in our understanding of and participation in worship. And a lot of us includes me. I’ve been regularly going to church for almost 60 years, graduated from Bible college and two seminaries, and preached for over 45 years; but I still have a lot room for growth when it comes to worship.
A recent study of Psalm 119, and some reading about the Psalms in general, has sparked my interest in revisiting this matter of worship. The Old Testament book of Psalms is filled with calls to and examples of worship.
At its simplest, worship means to attribute worth to something or someone. Some other words we use to describe the word include glorify, adore, praise, bless, and revere. A dictionary definition of worship as a verb is “to show reverence and adoration for a deity.” As a noun worship is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”
Yes, people can worship whatever they choose to worship, but for Christians there is only one deity—God in the three persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We may not completely understand the triune God, but we believe it because the Bible teaches it.
Let me make some observations (you may or may not agree with) and quote some others that I hope will provoke your thinking about worship.
You can go to church and not worship – I’ve done it, and I would guess you have too.
Worship is about me, but it’s more about God.
Worship isn’t an event we go to.
Worship is not something done for us.
We worship both alone on our own as well as together with others in corporate worship.
We often speak of praising and thanking God in or as a part of our worship. We praise God for who he is and thank Him for what he does. Thanksgiving goes together with praise.
“Delight in God, arising out of the health of our relationship with God and enhancing the health of that relationship, is expressed in praise to God” (Pastor Mark Abbott).
“We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment” (C.S. Lewis).
Unfortunately, some think of worship as a solemn and joyless activity. There may be occasions when that is true, but generally worship is far from joyless.
“The whole notion of God asking us to sit around saying nice things about him can seem rather alien” (Philip Yancey).
“God doesn’t need our worship, but he wants it” (C.S. Lewis).
“In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him” (C.S. Lewis).
There is a lot to this thing of worship, isn’t there? My goal, as well as my encouragement to you, is to keep growing in understanding worship and exceling in the practice of worship.
Here’s a final observation about the subject: God’s invitation for us to worship him is one we should accept – regularly (alone and with others), thoughtfully, and enthusiastically.
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