I am a firm believer in understanding why we do the things we do. This is because unless we understand the ‘why’ we will not value the importance what we do and thereby rob ourselves of the immense benefits underlying what are engaged in or the dangers associated with missing the mark.
To understand the essence of worship, we will attempt to answer the following questions;
- What is Worship?
- Who do we worship?
- Why do we worship?
- When and where do we worship?
- How do we worship?
What is worship? I love the way the Webster’s dictionary defines worship, “Worship is to honour with extravagant love and extreme submission" (Webster’s Dictionary,1828).” What or who we honour is what we hold dear and what takes top priority in our lives.
When we hear worship in Christian circles, the first thing that comes into our minds is singing, lifting up our hands, lifting up our voices, heads bowed and knees bent. Did you notice that in the definition of worship I just quoted there was not singing, dancing or praying mentioned? Does that mean that everything we’ve done this morning is not worship? The answer is all these are actually expressions of worship. They are the product of heart of full of worship.
Worship is a lifestyle of honouring God in our lives at all times. In all we do, whenever we think of God first, we are honouring God and that is worship.
Who do we worship? The question, “Who do we worship?” To a Christian might produce the answer, “duh! That’s God right?” But we live at a time when the worship of man is so prevalent. Social media is full of images of people whose goal is to get as many followers as possible. They are happy when they post something and they key over a thousand likes and become depressed when only a handful respond to their posts.
We also have a celebrity obsessed society where certain persons are ‘worshipped’ because of the image they project either through their music, films or other achievements. (Romans 1:25) It is therefore important for us to remind ourselves to whom the our worship should be directed. God is and should always be the object not our worship.
“You alone are the LORD You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.” (Nehemiah 9:6)
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (Rev 4:11)
Why Do We Worship - Worship is a living sacrifice. Inside every man is the inherent need to worship. As Christians, we worship because we know who our creator is. We worship because we acknowledge that He is the one who made us.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvellous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” Psalm 139:13-16.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before theLord, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6)
When and where do we worship - In John 4, Jesus had an interesting conversation with a Samaritan woman. During the course of the discussion, the woman asked him a question. “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” (John 4:19-20)
Jesus responded to her, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24)
What is the summary of what Jesus told the woman? God is everywhere! He does not live in a temple or church building erected by men’s hands. While coming together in a place to worship God is good and encouraged, our worship of God is not limited to the confines of time and space. Every breathe we breath is an opportunity for us to worship God anywhere we are.
How do we worship? Worship of God is not expressed in one way but in various ways. Worship begins from the heart and flows out in actions and not the reverse. When we meditate on God's word and are awed at the wonder of His creation, our heart is filled with joyful appreciation and the natural manifestation of that state is revealed in signing, dancing and thanksgiving. Psalm 95, 2 Samuel 6:14-23.
We were made to worship and the only one deserving our worship is God. Let us draw close to Him and be counted among those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth.