What is worship?
To worship is to regard God with deep respect and affection. It involves intimacy with someone perfectly worthy of our love. The word worship comes from the Greek word "proskuneo" which in its most intimate form means 'coming towards to kiss' (in honour and "agape" love). Worship is drawing close to God with a humble, loving and respectful attitude -
For example a spirit of worship may be reflected in thoughts such as -
"God you are so marvellous beyond words. I am overwhelmed with the wisdom of your ways and the wonder of your love. Your plan of saving us through Jesus is glorious beyond my comprehension. I look up to you with all the admiration I have - thank you Lord.'
Naturally thoughts of worship will vary from person to person and from time to time. Some times we won't feel this way - but with the help of the Holy Spirit as we gain more insight into God, our hearts are lifted in adoration and praise.
Consider the teaching of Romans_12:1-2 on worship:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Worship is not bowing to an egocentric God, but rather something which is right - because of who He is and who we are. It is not just appreciation for what He does, but who He is! In worship we focus on who God is. We speak out our love to Him - we express our esteem, how much we honour him.
Worship can start as an act of will in spite of our
feelings. We should allow some time for personal confession and
seek the cleansing made available through the blood of Christ.
Once we start to worship, the Holy Spirit helps us and it often
gets easier. If we are feeling low - praising God can shift the
focus off ourselves and onto God (Isaiah_61:3). As we draw near
to God in worship, He draws near to us. God inhabits the praises
of His people. (Psalms_22:3)
We need to be vulnerable, open, honest, transparent before him. Recognise ourselves as creatures in the presence of the almighty creator.
Our adoration needs to be consistent with our lives, not hypocritical. It should be the expression of joy that comes from a life of following Jesus' teaching. If there is persistent, wilful sin in our lives, then our praises become offensive to Him (Isaiah_58). Adoration is a way of life, a daily attitude of giving Him praise and expecting to meet Him in our daily affairs.
To adore God is to glorify Him in our hearts and minds (eg: Psalms_8), experiencing the joy of the Holy Spirit with a loss of self consciousness.
There are many forms of worship. Some are corporate, such as: singing, praising, dancing etc. When alone, experiment with different forms and songs. Sometimes silence is an appropriate form of worship - our whole being focused on silent adoration of God.
In public worship we need to allow each other the freedom to adopt different forms of expression in worship. It will probably take time to learn the value of some new ways of worship - so be ready to try new ways.
We must keep judgmental attitudes out of corporate worship... allow the person next to you, or near you, the liberty to praise God in the way they want to. Don't press your expectation of what is acceptable onto another. As others worship God, it will show on their face no matter what form of worship is being expressed.
Sometimes God may move us to fast in order to heighten our sensitivity to His Spirit. This may be restraint from something which is normal to us. It may be food (from one meal to a number of days), TV, your computer, or some other activity.
In the case of fasting from food, make sure you have
medical guidance and understand the Biblical purposes for the
fast. Fasting can be offensive to God if other things are inconsistent
and wrong in our lives (Isaiah_58:1-10).
So lets put it into practice. No matter what you are feeling like right now, lift your hearts to God in thanksgiving and thinking about how great he is.
Unit 3: Personal Study & Journal [Next Section]
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