“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” ~ John 4:23
Some like to lift up holy hands
Some like to dance like David danced.
Some cry, others just smile
Some like to stand up, others bow
(When We Worship Him by Dallas Holm)
Worship. It’s a word that we as believers hear quite often. We read in church bulletins that Worship Service begins at such in such time. We hear the music genre term Praise & Worship. We might have even heard the phrase “he or she worships the ground they walk on”. Honestly, we can worship anything and possibly too often unknowingly do. Websters defines worship as the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God as well as an excessive admiration for someone. In his book, “Worship – A Way of Life”, Patrick Kavanaugh quotes William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury with “Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, Nourishment of mind by His truth, Purifying of imagination by His beauty, Opening of the heart to His love, And submission of will to His purpose.” How about you friend? What is the first thought or impression that comes to mind when you think of worship?
Back in 1984, right after Karen and I were married, I worked with a guy who had recently transferred from a different department to the area I worked in which was maintenance as an electrician. From the moment I was around him, I knew there was something totally different about him. There was something I seen about how he lived his life that I wanted. After getting to know him, I found out it was his genuine love for the Lord and how he desired to please Him in everything he did. Of course there were many others in my department who thought he was wacko but hey, I was already used to that as this world will never understand why Christians do and say the things they do. One morning when we finished working nights, my friend asked if he could come over and just talk about the things of God and what He was doing in each of our lives. I said sure. As we talked, the topic of worship came up. My friend asked me if I had ever truly worshipped God in His presence. Now being a good ole’ Baptist PK (preacher’s kid), my experience of worshipping God had been limited to singing the first three verses and standing on the fourth. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this style and setting of worship, I simply longed for more of Jesus and longed to truly know Him more intimately. My friend asked me had I ever lifted my hands in worship and I told him no. I truly thought that was reserved for the truly holy people, some might even call them Jesus Freaks. He invited me to lift up my hands to the heavens and begin worshipping the Lord and thanking Him for His goodness, mercy, forgiveness and especially His love. I have to admit friends that when I lifted my hands for the first time, I felt awkward but deep within me it felt right and a feeling of completeness and warmth came over me. I knew from then on, my worship experience would never be the same…and it hasn’t. God continued to draw Karen and I into a deeper walk with God that year unlike we had never known and had never been exposed to. (No, we didn’t begin to drink grape kool-aid.) We simply began to hunger after God and He continued to draw us by His Spirit. I have found that people can get as close to God as they choose to. It’s like a small picture that my mom has hanging in her kitchen that reads, “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved.” People simply choose to move closer or away from God’s presence. He is continually drawing us by His spirit which dwells within us; although, we don’t always respond as we should and choose to neglect those times. Ezekiel 34:11 reads, “For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”
Through the years, I have also found that true worship to God is more about my devotion and condition of my heart to Him and others and not so much about an isolated once a week event. While yes, we do participate in corporate worship with other believers within the church each time we gather, worship is not limited to these times. I can worship God while at work, mowing my yard, driving in my truck, in how I relate to others..especially my wife and family, etc. My devotion and worship unto God is reflected in how I respond to each of these areas and so many more in my life. The scriptures in Colossians 3:17 says “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As believers, the world should clearly see a difference in our lives in how we live, speak, work, deal with daily situations, etc. This is how they will truly respond to the Lord and His gospel when they see it evident in our lives. Jack Hayford is quoted as saying, “Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One worshiped.” We can never worship God in His presence and not be changed. As John Piper says, “We belittle God when we go through the outward motions of worship and take no pleasure in His person.”
As I began today’s devotional, I quoted a few lyrics from Dallas Holm’s song, “When We Worship Him”. And as it reads, some of us as believers may lift our hands, some may bow, cry, laugh, shout, stand up, sit down, etc, when we worship our Creator. My heart’s desire is that we may never be limited to what a man-made doctrine may specify what true worship is supposed to be or look like. Rather, I would desire that each of us would open our minds, our hearts and our lives and allow the Spirit of the living God to draw us and in response, that we would draw near to Him with a heart that is truly devoted to Him and Him alone.
“Heavenly Father, please forgive us for the times we offer up shallow sacrifices of praise and worship and breathe on us a fresh new living spirit of worship as we commit our lives unto You from this day forth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
For His Kingdom,