Come to church. Come to worship.
Ha! Bet I had you scared or incredibly intrigued for a minute there. You can imagine my surprise when my pastor uttered those words Sunday. He said, “stop coming to church…*insert long pause*….come to worship!”
That hit home for me. We go to church, we got to X many Bible studies throughout the week, and when we’re at church, we’ve usually got the fellowship (aka socializing, mingling time) down, but do we get why we’re actually at church?? Our ultimate purpose is to go to worship. How do I worship? Is that where my focus is? Is that what I’m concerned with doing while I’m at church? This week I decided to really dig into what worship is and how we worship.
The definition of worship (yeah I looked up in true Rachel fashion, sorry not sorry haha) is:
-the reverent love devotion accorded to a deity, idol or sacred object
-how love is expressed
-ardent devotion; adoration
-to honor and love as a deity
-adore and venerate
-express feelings of profound adoration
-homage paid to God
Some central words that stood out to me and kept popping up in my research were adore, venerate, and love.
To adore is to worship as a God (ironic, huh??), regard with deep rapturous love or to like very much.
To venerate is to regard with respect, reverence, or heartfelt deference.
To love (difficult to define by the way) is to have a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection, a feeling of intense desire and attraction towards a person, or a wholeheartedly liking.
Summed up, worship is showing an adoration to God through wholehearted respect and reverence and ultimately showing our love.
We get so wrapped up in our lives and the day-to-day-ness of everything that sometimes we approach church and our quiet times as a business deal or a proposition with God. We try and negotiate with God and see what we have to do so He can do what we want for us. I’m horrible about trying to negotiate deals with God and fit Him into this business position when in reality He is so much bigger and mightier than that. It’s not about what He can do for you, it’s about what He’s done for you and now what you can do for His kingdom.
1 Chronicles 16:23-31 describes how worship. These verses state that whole earth should sing to the Lord, proclaim his glorious deeds, tell everyone of the amazing things he has done, fear God above all other gods, recognize the Lord and his strength and glory, worship, tremble before Him, be glad, and rejoice. That’s chalk full of action words. We should be proactive in our worship, not just chilling, sending out a Thank You card to Jesus once or twice a year. It should be a constant mindset and lifestyle of adoration, awe and love.
Nehemiah 9:5-6 says we should stand up and praise the Lord, as well as validate God for what He has done and what He is capable of. That’s another thing that’s stood out to me lately-validating not just thanking. Our worship should be an act of validating God, not just showing him, “oh hey man thanks for making things work out today with blah blah blah”, NO, it’s a validation of thanking Him for being out creator, loving us, paying the price and choosing to have our best interest at the forefront of His plan for us.
Psalm 100 and Hebrews 12:18 demonstrate to us how our worship should look like as well.
Ok, well now that we know what worship is and what it’s for, questions numba 3: how do we worship and how often??
Worship is us glorifying God, it is a way of life. It’s not just something saved up for Sundays then live life for yourself Monday-Saturday. Our worship should be a constant thing. It is how we live our lives. It’s however you choose to show God how much you love Him. Worship is intimacy with God. There’s not one right way to worship, just be true to your heart. Come to God with abandon. Abandon all inhibitions and distractions and lay it all down for the Lord.
In Jonah 1:9, the author, Jonah, states that he is Hebrew and he worships the Lord, insinuating that worship is a manner of his life. It is who he is. Romans 12:1 states that we should offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God and that this is our spiritual act of worship. Again, I think this shows that we need to offer our lives, every piece of it as a form of worship to God-showing worship is a lifestyle, not a single action. In Psalm 145:1-2, David declares to God that he will praise Him every day and extol His name forever and ever. Take three that we see worship as an everyday, consistent act and way of living.
Jerry Bridges states in his book, “Growing Your Faith” that, “worship is not just an external act. True worship must come from the heart and reflect a sincere attitude and desire.” Everything we do is a reflection is of what is in our hearts. True worship is letting what is in our hearts shine through. We’re like little walking, talking Jesus advertisements. The way we choose to live our lives and what we let bubble up to the surface and out from our hearts is worship. Whether it be singing and praising at church, in your car or at home, fellowshipping with other believers, serving, praying, using your gifts and hobbies in His name, etc.-it is a form of worship. Even while we are fellowshipping, being disciple makers, being intentional and investing in others-that is us worshipping God through our external actions. Our prayer life, our quiet times, our focus on God throughout the day and constant contact with the big man-that is us worshipping through out internal actions. This is definitely an area that I need to grow in and focus a little more.
In conclusion, worship is a way of life. It’s what we do and how we live. We can’t go deeper with God until we understand worship and let God show himself to us through our worship. Live with abandon, giving it all to God. Therefore, don’t just go to church, go to worship.
Thanks for the read! Have a great weekend!