what is worship?
-worship is worth-ship (Gen 1:1, Is. 6:1-5; Ps. 115:3; Matt. 17:1-6; Ps. 24:1-3)
In my previous post, I discussed how love is intrinsic to worship as described by God in himself. We worship what we love most. So then, worship begins with the position of our heart, not the position of our hands. Worship begins internally, not externally.
The word worship comes from the Old English weorthscipe, which combines two words meaning, “ascribe worth.” So worship is giving value or worth to something or someone.
With this in mind, we can see that what we love is what we find worthy of our life and devotion. The more satisfying something is (whether truly or deceptivly), the more we worship it.
This is because we love what brings us satisfaction. We are dependent creatures. Our nature is to be satisfied by something greater than ourselves. And that something is intended to be God.
It’s not self-serving to love God because he completely satisfies our soul, for that is how we were designed (for more on this, read John Piper’s book, Desiring God).
Recall that God is the beginning and center of worship. He sees himself clearly and perfectly as he is. So he can and does see how worthy he is, thus, displays perfect worship. The Son worships the Father, The Father adores and exalts the Son and the Spirit is celebrated and celebrates the others.
Our life is one of constant worship. We are always setting our gaze upon what we love and find worthy of giving our time, resources, and abilities to for satisfaction and joy.
What we must ask ourself is “what or who do I find worthy of my worship?”
what is worship?
-worship starts with God (Gen. 1:1; 1 Jn. 4:8)
Too often when we hear the word “worship,” we automatically begin thinking about ourselves (e.g. our singing, our praying, our bible reading). But we are not the beginning of worship, God is.
In the beginning there was God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. He has always existed in perfect communion – equal, yet distinct – with himself. And since God is love, it is true that in the beginning there was love - perfect agape love.
Norman Geisler provides this helpful statement of the different nuances of the different types of love words: “Erotic (Eros) love is egoistic. It says, ‘My first and last consideration is myself.’ Philic (Phileo) love is mutualistic. It says, ‘I will give as long as I receive.’ Agapic love, on the other hand, is altruistic, saying, ‘I will give, requiring nothing in return.’”
Love is the nature of God (God is love vs. God is loving). Yes, God is loving, but that is because of his nature of love. This love is selfless and finds joy in the joy of another. And what we find the most joy is what or who we worship.
It is crucial to understand that about God because it plays a huge part in worship.
As I was preparing for a message at my church’s young adult bible study, the Spirit really opened my eyes to the unity in God’s will for our lives and our lives of worship for God.
I’ve been thinking much about Romans 12:1-2 and reading an excellent book titled Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper. These have been essential in the Spirit’s illumination on this subject.
Being a Christian, and especially being on a worship team, I’ve always known that God’s will for our lives is for us to worship him. But there is much more profundity in that truth that spreads beyond our “lifestyle of worship.”
The series will essentially be based on Romans 12:1-2, but will dive into a few other texts.
I hope and pray that any and all readers would be encouraged by the Spirit as I was and live in a deeper relationship with God.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Babel (Gen. 11)
The heart of man was proud - The people were leading themselves rather than being led by God (“they journeyed,” “they found,” “they dwelt,” “they said,” “let us,” “lest we”). They were “greatly wicked” and “every intention of the thoughts of theirs hearts were only continually evil,” thus opposing to God (Gen. 6:5).
United with the motive to glorify man - The people wanted to make a name for themselves (v. 4).
Desired to reach the heavens above from below - The people wanted to earn their own identity by building a city and tower (v. 4).
Stirred up evil and wicked works - Since they were of “one speech” and “one language” they were able to communicate and unite in their wickedness (v. 3-4).
God descended to divide and quell man - God came down to confuse their language and communication, thus their unity, that they may not accomplish their evil purpose (v. 7).
Pentecost (Acts 2)
The heart of man was humble - The disciples were obedient to the words of Jesus to wait before sharing the gospel (1:4-5).
United with the motive to glorify Jesus - The disciples were praying together that they may work to fulfill the Great Commission, which intrinsically spreads the name of Jesus (v. 14; Matt. 28:18-20).
Desired to bring the heavens above to below - The disciples wanted to share the good news that Jesus has come to earth to save man and restore what was broken in the garden.
Stirred up love and good works - They had their minds on Scripture (v 1:15-20) and things of God, which was conveyed through their constant prayer (v. 1:14).
God descended to unite and empower man - God came down to bring the truth to every language in every language that unity in God may be restored and his purpose fulfilled (v. 5-11; Rev. 7:9-12).
Often times, serving God can become something that is self-centered. We focus on our bible reading, our praying, our fasting, our trying not to sin and our doing something in the church and call it serving God. To be sure, these are absolute necessities for the Christian life, however, they are not the end goal.
To serve God means to serve people (Matt. 25:31-46). It is not limited to ourselves (1 Pt. 4:10-11), but rather, focuses on helping others. It is God-centered and other-oriented because it is love-rooted.
When Jesus said to love God first and love people second, there were numerous implications. One is that anyone can serve their family and friends because we love them (Matt. 5:43-48). It’s easy to serve someone we love. But Jesus doesn’t mention categories of people to love, thus, he implies and intends for us to love all people.
But how can we serve an enemy? Serving is rooted in love, but love doesn’t naturally exist toward enemies or people we don’t know or people who can’t repay us. There is a dilemma.
That is why we love God first.
It is from this relationship that we grow in Christlikeness to be like Christ who loved all people (1 Jn. 4: 9-11). It is from this relationship that we see ourselves as former enemies of God and yet loved and served (Rom. 5:10). It is from this relationship that we see the value of all people who were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). It is from this relationship that our eyes are opened to needs all around us. It is from this relationship that we find strength and motivation to endure and preserver in our service to the place and people God has called us to engage with.
Where do the necessities described above come into play? They grow us in the knowledge and wisdom of God. They shape us. They mold us. They are the means by which we grow in godliness.
To grow in godliness means to grow in love, for God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). And love seeks to help others find joy in whatever way possible, especially in the Source of love. So we give God glory in our service to people. We show them our Source of meaning and purpose and motivation.
Serving God is not merely a list of duties but a desire to love with the same love that was given to us. The more we understand that love, the more we can serve and help others do that same.