Worship, What Is It Really?
Applying Worship to Your Life
The Bible does not provide a formal definition of “worship,” although it appears more than 200 times (in the King James Version, including variations of the word, like worshiping and worshiper). “Worship” is a commonly used word in the English language to express an overabundance of respect. Most universally, the word is used in a religious context, describing one’s respect and devotion toward God.
The Merriam Webster definition of “worship” is “extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object or person of esteem.” The thesaurus lists the following as words that are closely related:
Worship is commonly used as both a noun and a verb. What is worship really? It recognizes a living God that exists in holiness, in who there is no corruption of any kind. He is acknowledged in every way, big and small, and in all you do. It recognizes that holiness is a state of living out truth. “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace and pursue it” (New American Standard Bible NASB Ref. Ed. Psalms 34, Heb. 8). Something, we human beings constantly fail at.
Worship acknowledges that God’s actions are always legal, moral, ethical, and because of his integrity, He is incapable of wrong doing or having any corrupt judgement. “He, [God] who promised is faithful.” This is the covenant that I will make with them. After those days, says the Lord, “I will put MY laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them, that ‘their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’” (Heb. 10 NASB., Jer. 31 Heb. 8 NASB).
True worship exhibits itself through actions taken during our daily life. Just like Noah, Abraham, and Jesus and all the true followers “live by faith” in his promise to forgive us. Worship acknowledges God’s righteousness and mercy by attempting to live our daily lives in such a manner that honors God and show our appreciation for all blessings and goodness that we find in our lives.
The way is narrow, and he provided only one path in which to walk. The path of truth that understands, reviews and acknowledges the travels made to pure worship through the context of Gods personal sacrifice for us. It is based on Ancient Wisdom of the Old and New testaments and the law known as the Ten Commandments which became a stumbling block and judgement for man.
God’s dilemma: God’s integrity requires Him to up hold righteousness through judgement based on the law, yet at the same time, he loved us, and did not want to let us go. He wanted a relationship with us. Why? Because we are the creation of His own hand. In order for him to keep his relationship with us, (just like you love and want to protect your children, your wife, your husband and the like), He had to provide His own solution for the problem to our constant wrong doing as we could not do it for ourselves. How? By not waiting. By being the first to reach out to us with the hand of mercy, extending love, kindness, and friendship.
Because the law of righteousness requires a payment, a penalty, an opportunity cost for wrong doing. He did not want us to pay that price, of never having a relationship with him, so the solution had to be so simple that anyone could do it. Even the simplest mind. Even a young child could understand and accept His gift of friendship. The solution also, had to satisfy justice, and yet at the same time releases us from the bondage of the judgement of the law, (the Ten Commandments) and allows us the freedom to accept His gift of love for us through a faithful promise of salvation and allowed us to love Him back.
How was this accomplished? He personally took our place by paying the price Himself in the form of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, one member of the Trinity. How was he revealed? The answer is by a set of indicators found in the Old Testament which describes the Messiah and the plan of salvation.
The indicators are:
- He was born of a virgin, Isaiah: 7-14, thus pure.
- He died on the cross and shed his blood as payment as required by the law of sacrifice (a life for a life exchange) as a suffering servant, Isaiah: 53, He took our punishment under the law.
- He was resurrected to prove freedom from sin, Zechariah 12:10, Psalms 16:8-11 and 22 the sign of Jonah. God’s atonement, by removal of the barrier between us and God, which we could then be free once and for all of the bondage of wrong doing. This offers a way to daily purify ourselves so that we might always be right with God and know his personhood. How? He does this by asking us to simply recognize our wrong doing through the simplicity of a verbal statement, that completes and satisfies the law. Why? It creates a completion of a contractual obligation between God and man, of offer, acceptance and assurance of an agreement by way of faith through Christ and the Sinner’s Prayer.
You don’t buy or earn salvation. It is simply a gift you accept. We, with full knowledge of our corruption and in ability to live a perfect life, make a committed choice to change, by accepting God’s offer of forgiveness through Christ’s blood sacrifice on the cross as the legally required full payment for our sins and wrong doing. In doing so, we are made right with God, our Father, and restored to full fellowship with Him as it was always meant to be from the beginning of time. This allows us to worship God in spirit and truth, as all barriers and walls to a personal relationship with him have been removed, and we have been legally and fully restored to a correct and true standing with God. Just as a son to a father, and father to a son. Worship then can be done in truth when we acknowledge all of our short comings, and recognizing God’s true and perfect goodness.
Our Daily Actions
We worship by measuring our daily actions against the standards of behavior set forth in God’s Holy Word by which He wants us to live in truth. By living out those standards, we show reverence, love, respect and worship to Him. When we ourselves acknowledge a living God’s standard for our life by reading His word we worship Him. Through prayer, talking and listening to him, we worship Him. Through meditation, the reading and thinking about and studying the Word of god, we are able to hear Him and worship Him. He is able then to lead us to live a life of righteousness and truth. We deal fairly with people. We don’t lie. We show love and kindness to others. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
We follow the Golden Rule daily to the best of our ability. Should we fail, we ask for forgiveness and are restored back to true worship and fellowship with God. The secret is everything you do before the Lord, is living out your life is a form of worship. During worship one can feel God’s presence (a presence spirit). It is a conscious choice, and state-of-mind, and a heightened awareness and thankfulness that you attribute to the higher power that is God for even the small things, by acknowledging God in all your ways. “And I will be their God, and they shall be MY People” (New American Standard Bible NASB Ref. Ed. Heb. 10).
There are several ways one can express worship for God, usually though volunteerism and activeness in the local church, but also in the form of being a good person – the type of person God wants you to be. Worship either (1) involves speaking, (2) involves listening, or (3) requires an action.
Today, many people recognize the following as acts of worship toward God:
- Giving financially to the church;
- Volunteering for the church;
- Participating in religious services (song, communion);
- Talking and listening to God (by setting aside time each day to establish and maintain a relationship of friendship, love and reverence of his Holiness)
- Doing the right thing;
- Attending religious services regularly;
- Celebrating key holidays (Christmas, Easter, Good Friday);
- Reading the Bible;
- Sharing Christian beliefs with others;
- Abiding by the 10 Commandments;
- Displaying esteem for the church and God at home and work; and
- Devoting your life to ministry.
The process of expressing devotion to God is different for every person, but the goal is always the same: respecting the presence of God by following Christian virtues and prioritizing your relationship with God above all else.
A worshiper must be willing to:
- Accept God’s plan for them (sometimes abandoning their own goals)
- Express gratitude and praise for God every day
- Share with others the joys of living for God
Facts About Worship
Although worship takes many forms, there are widely accepted truths regarding worshiping. Some of these truths are:
- Worship can be done independently, or in the company of others
- Worship is not restricted to a place or time
- Worship is a response to God
- Worship should be an act of will, not a habit
Ancient wisdom says, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). If you make an effort to keep God in your life, worship becomes not something that you have to do, but something that you are living.
- What is Worship, by gci.org
- What is True Worship, by christianitytoday.com
- What is the Difference Between Praise and Worship, by gotquestions.org
- Christian Worship, by William R. Cunningham
- Worship, by biblestudytools.com
- Should Religious Organizations Be Allowed to Worship in schools? NYC Mayor Reconsiders City’s Policy, by Kelsey Harkness
- Worship Of False Gods, by openbible
- What the Bible says about Worship, by The Expository Files
- Praise & Worship Video, When Mercy Found Me, by Rhett Walker Band
- In Christ Alone Worship Video, by David Renton
- Worship Words to Grace Flows Down, by Amy Urena
- The Kind of Worship God Desires, , by John MacArthur
- Higher education, by worshipleader.com
- The Essentials in Worship Course, by Dan Wilt
- School of Worship Studies, by vanguardcollege.com
- Public Worship 101: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Worship, the Elements of Worship, Exclusive Psalmody, and A Cappella Psalmody, by Dennis Prutow
- Worship (Guides to the Reformed Tradition), by Hughes Oliphant Old
- Beyond the Worship Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship, by Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching
- The Most Popular Worship Songs, Vol. 6 (Live), by Praise and Worship, available on iTunes for a fee
- God with Us, by Elevation Worship, available on iTunes for a fee