I was standing in church this week, yes, actually IN church, with like, other people! I was standing in church singing and worshiping with my church family and it’s one of my favorite parts of the service for two main reasons- 1. because I feel like it aligns my heart with God’s will, and 2., because my five year old daughter likes to sing and dance to the music. And so she’s there singing along, dancing, and twirling in her beautiful dress looking like a princess when I look up and see a woman giving her disapproving eyes. Now listen, I’m in church, I ain’t trying to pick a fight. You want to see the old me, start staring at my kid, but I’m older and wiser now so instead I prayed about it and you know what God said to me? (I love when He talks to me!) He said that we are to worship Him. How many people reading this know their primary purpose in life is to worship God? We are to worship HIM- our one true God! Praise Him! How do we do that? Well, singing for sure, but did you know there are other ways to worship our Heavenly Father? Today I want to look at three ways, right out of scripture, that we can worship God, and it’s so so urgent that you understand the importance of worship to your faith walk.
First let me start off this way: we are all worshipers. Worshiping is simply showing what we value, showing what is worth something to us using passion, enthusiasm, worship, love, and admiration. Think about the last time you worshiped outside of church. If you were at a sporting event, you cheered and worshiped for your team. At a concert? You celebrated and worshiped the band you love, and if you won the lottery right now you would probably be expressing some sort of worship for something you’re really excited about. So truthfully we’re all really good worshipers, the problem is we’re worshiping the wrong gods (lowercase g). Good worship of bad gods. And we get it flipped sometimes, don’t we? We could be standing in church in front of an Awesome God (uppercase G) and what do we do? We just stand there! I mean the music is playing and maybe we throw a limp hand in the air, but let’s face it, we’re all just looking around to see who notices how great we are at “worshiping.” and it’s not a new thing! Jesus actually addresses this in Mathew 15, he says ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'” So to set this up I want to ask you, the last time you worshiped in church- or I’ll even say at home, in your car, at work, anywhere! The last time you worshiped God, did you experience the presence of God in that time? Did you thank Him for what He’s done or express the deepest part of your heart? Or were you just playing car karaoke? There are many ways to worship, I’m going to talk about three today.
- Worship with awe
Hebrews 12: 28-29 says this: Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire. Love it! No matter what is in your past, what Jesus died and rose from the grave for can not be shaken. And he’s saying gratitude is the gateway to great worship, through reverence and awe. So if something or someone exudes “awe”, what would we say? “It’s awesome!” Right? And listen, I’ve used this word to describe every single thing in my life, from every slice of pizza I’ve ever eaten, to the answer of my wife’s favorite question: “How do I look?” (Pro tip: The answer is always awesome!) Am I then saying that my slice of pizza is on the same level with our God? This is craziness! God can and is the only thing that will ever be “Awesome”. I’ve had to change my vocabulary because of this devotional, pray for me. And so when we talk about worshiping God with awe, what does that even mean? The Greek word for this is “phobos”, by the way here’s a quick language lesson. It’s where we get the word phobia from, and it literally means like a reverential fear of the power and the holiness of God. So by definition there is nothing else in all of creation that is worthy of awe but our God. Great. Worship God with awe, how do we do it?
- Bow down or kneel in worship
Psalm 95 includes this line: “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker”. There is a position that should be extremely common for anyone who is a follower of Jesus, and this may be an uncomfortable moment for you, but there are times, in the presence of God, that lowering myself is symbolic of elevating him in me. Now, he doesn’t need me to elevate him, He is already at the highest place of all creation. But this is an act of me elevating him in my own life, and so there are times in worship where I have no other reasonable response but just to bow before God. The wise men came to Bethlehem. What did they do? They bowed before baby King. Peter is called by Jesus. What does he do? He bows before the Messiah. Scripture says that every knee will bow, everyone, whether you believe or don’t believe. One day, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. If we’re going to do it in heaven, we might as well start now. We worship God with awe, and we get down on our knees out of gratitude for His love and what He’s done in your life.
- We worship with abandon
What does that mean? I am singing, shouting, clapping, and dancing to our God, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. In 2 Samuel 6:14 King David dances, it says: “And David danced before the Lord with all his might”. Why? Because the Ark was making its way back to the Holy City of Jerusalem, and David is dancing like a madman- and as I can relate he starts to embarrass his wife. She literally says, you are humiliating yourself. You’re the king of Israel, and look at what David says to Michal. David says, “I was dancing before the Lord, yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes.” My daughter. My sweet amazing daughter probably doesn’t understand in her head that she’s worshiping, but in that moment her heart was full- of love, of joy, of gratitude- and it shows in her singing, her dancing, and her twirling. And she didn’t have a care in the world what anyone else thought because it was her way of bonding with her Heavenly Father.
Now, here’s the problem. The problem is that when you walk into most church auditoriums, the vibe sends a very weird message about who the audience is. Think about it. You walk in through the back. The first thing you see in a lot of churches is a big stage. On that stage are usually people. Those people must be important, because they’re up on the stage. Lights are shining on the people, and they are singing and playing, and facing all of us. And so if you had no context for church, you would just assume that they are here for who? For you! But it is not for you. You are not the audience. There is an audience, but it is not and will never be you. The audience is singular. It is the almighty God. And so when we come into a place of worship, it is not about, hey, I don’t like this song, or I wish they’d play that song. It’s not for you. It is for the King. That is what we are there for, to collectively lift up the name of our Savior and our Creator. We worship God with abandon. You just sometimes, have to let loose a little bit in church. You have to get excited and realize that Jesus paid for your sin, and just say thank you with your face and with your hands and with your voice, and genuinely be excited that the God of creation cares about you!
Lifted hands means two things. It means victory, and it means surrender. And when we worship our God, guess what? It means both. We are celebrating the fact that the tomb is empty and we have victory in Jesus Christ, and it means that to Jesus, I surrender everything. There is nothing in this world more worthy of your whole heart, your whole abandonment, all of your worship, than the one true God.
His name is Jesus.