Worship is the assigning of worth (honour, reverence, devotion, dedication and glory) to another, often superior being, although it can be given to an idol or other material object as well as to the true God. The Bible declares, “Worship God and Him only…Loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”; this excludes everything in the physical world, including anything supposed to represent Him and any idols that humanity substitutes for God (Ex 20:3-6, 34:14; Mk 12:30; Lk 4:8; Act 17:29; Rom 1:22-25). True worship is a daily lifestyle that honours God.
Genuine worship results in wholehearted service
making amends for wrongdoing (1 Sam 15:22; Hos 6:6; Jn 14:15). He delights in those who honour Him by walking uprightly and acting rightly (Ps 37:23, 147:11; Mic 6:8; Rom 6:13).
By giving Him ‘our all’ our worship will become a natural expression of our ongoing lifestyle – deep devotion of heart will be outworked in obedience to Him and His Word, for “If you love me, you will obey what I command…While if we say we love Him yet do not obey our worship is vain” (Mt 15:9; Jn 14:15,21,23; Col 3:17,23; 1 Jn 4:20, 5:3). As we present our “bodies as living sacrifices”, leaving behind the old life, typified as bondage or slavery to sin, the totality of our being is involved. This is ‘spiritual’ or true worship (Ex 7:16; Rom 12:1).
devotion is directed elsewhere it will lead to bondage for we become devoted (a slave) to what we worship and take on its character qualities (2 Kgs 17:15; Ps 115:8, 135:15-18;
We take on the characteristics of what or whom we worship
Prov 13:20; Jer 2:5; Jn 8:41,44). Acceptable worship must take its character from the nature of God – holy, reverent, awesome – so regularly check that God is not replaced by a lesser god (Act 17:23; Rom 6:16; Heb 12:28; 2 Pet 2:19).
As we respond to the leadings of the divine Spirit touching our spirit we function at our potential and bring continual glory to God by not quenching what He desires of us (Rom 8:6,14; Gal 5:18; 1 Thes 5:19). Worship is a unifying activity initiated by our spirit, working through the soul to produce appropriate actions of the body. However, the soul and body may ‘act out’ worship as a religious activity without the spirit initiating it or being involved, yet this is not real worship but just a facade – ‘going through the motions’, “honouring God with their lips but their heart is far from Him” (Isa 29:13; Mk 7:6,7).
Worship as the outcome of a lifestyle of full surrender in holiness and righteousness will not be an occasional or momentary occurrence. When we move into worship we move into the presence of God, and receive spiritual empowerment and direction. Time set aside specifically for worship provides opportunity to dedicate ourselves afresh to Him, re-aligning with the passion of God and the call to share Him with others. We can’t worship God and remain unchanged.
Public worship includes yet is not limited to spoken words and singing. The inner love and devotion of the heart can be expressed in various ways – kneeling, standing, dancing before Him, falling prostrate on our face, and raising or clapping of the hands are all valid expressions of submission in response to God’s revelation of Himself to us (2 Sam 6:12-14; Ps 47:1,2, 63:4, 95:6, 149:3). The Bible says, "God is enthroned on the praises of Israel" – He dwells where praise and thanksgiving are continually offered (Ps 22:3). Singing as an expression of worship to God focuses on Him and His power is present to work powerfully on behalf of those who are thus ministering to the Lord (2 Chr 5:13,14, 20:21-24).
Worship is about God, who He is. Instead, we have often made it self-centred, based on our likes – with the focus on having our favourite songs sung, or the musicians creating the ‘right’ atmosphere, with them putting on a human centred performance, rather than being a means of the corporate group of believers genuinely connecting to God. We have given to others the responsibility to shape our worship, while in fact it is a decision we must make. Worship is an expression of my relationship with God and my response to Him; it is not primarily about emotional feeling or experience.
Make a list of the reasons you have to worship God today
His heart to those around us. Through our worship God communicates His presence to us, so intentionally come with an attitude of praise and expectation as you minister to Him, He will reciprocate.
Praise, thanksgiving and worship are related yet distinct. Praise is the vocal expression of who God is and what He does in general. Thanksgiving is for what He has done in specific situations. Praise and thanksgiving prepare us to worship, the giving ourselves wholeheartedly (spirit, soul, body and all we possess) to God (Ps 86:12, 103:1). Jesus said “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:23,24). By this He meant religious devotion must come from pure, open and repentant hearts (not confined to a particular geographical locality or mind-focused rituals) and be properly informed (based on the having a vital relationship with Him and according to what He has revealed about Himself in Scripture).
While we should appreciate and honour those who have been a blessing to us, we must not give worship to anyone or thing what is solely reserved for God for He has said, “I am the Lord...I will not give my glory to another” (Isa 42:8; Lk 20:25; Rev 19:10, 22:8,9). This prohibition includes not bowing down and worshipping the form of anything in heaven or earth. Some venerate (regard with reverence) Mary, the mother of Jesus and deceased saints of the Christian faith, yet praying to them along with various other practices that ascribe worship, adoration and praise to anyone other than God is idolatry (Neh 9:6; Rev 15:4). There is no place for divided loyalty, as we can’t serve two masters at the same time (2 Kgs 17:34-41; Mt 6:24). By worshipping the antichrist (the beast and his image) and receiving his identifying mark people ultimately doom themselves to the lake of fire (Rev 13:8, 14:9-11). When Satan tempted Jesus to worship him in exchange for all the world he replied , “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Mt 4:9,10). Would I be prepared to forfeit my life rather than worship any other than the true God? (Dan 3:28).