Last night I received an email from one of our students in the International Christian Business Institute. He has begun the 30 / 30 worship challenge and asked me how I defined worship. After writing him back, I decided to post that response here, because as I answered him, I felt God’s anointing and pleasure. Here it is…
Great question, and one I have wrestled with myself. From my reading of Scripture, worship most often included bowing or even laying prostrate before God Almighty.
I believe that outward act can be simply mechanical and devoid of meaning OR it can be genuine. For me, I have been doing a lot more of that, as I realize whose presence I am coming before. At the same time, I believe I am coming before Abba Father and in one sense I want to relate to Him as my Father, while on the other hand I want to acknowledge Him as the only Sovereign and Mighty God that He is. Both are true and during my times of worship, I typically do both.
In Christianity, we talk about our “worship” services…
But I am not so sure there is much worship in many cases. I believe worship is first and foremost a response of the heart. How we express that genuine adoration is less important. For me, on many occasions, laying prostrate or kneeling was a natural response. At other times, standing and singing to Him some words from my heart felt very much like worship.
I believe the more we pursue God and truly come to love Him, we will find many ways to express that love through acts of worship that may vary from one person to another. I don’t think acts of service are acts of worship, though they are a beautiful and important thing. I believe an act of worship has one purpose only, to purposefully submit ourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is a conscious choice and there is no side agenda.
During those times when we acknowledge to ourselves the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the inexhaustible supremacy of God Almighty, we begin to discover the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. We also begin to grasp the hatred of evil which is the clearest manifestation of the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 8:13). When we hate evil, we will eschew it. We will not entertain it. We will not laugh at it. We will not keep company with it;… meaning, that evil behavior is not something you choose to associate with.
Even in human relationships, one must be careful.
Jesus was a friend to sinners, but He didn’t participate in their sin, or laugh it off or find their crude jokes funny. He loved them and went to where they were to rescue them, not to become like them. He was the light in a dark place.
I personally have discovered that since I began my personal 30 / 30 worship challenge, things that I would tolerate on television, even though I disliked them, I am now instantly at enmity with. I am not talking about obviously egregious R rated programming. I am speaking about things seen and heard on Fox news for example, or many commercials that are being aired. They may not be sensual in nature, but they celebrate attitudes and lifestyles that are in open rebellion to God. And they go unchallenged.
Doesn’t the Scripture say that friendship with the world is enmity with God? (James 4:4)
We are the salt of the earth. How does the salt lose its savor? The only way I know is by watering it down, dissolving it in water until it is so diluted, it has no effect. The Christian world has lost much of its influence because it has so soaked itself in the ways of the world, that it has become irrelevant.
It seems the more the church tried to be relevant, it became increasingly irrelevant. That’s because the world doesn’t need a copy of itself. It needs Jesus Christ. It is Christ who lives in us. We are to be His representatives to the world. We are His ambassadors and God Himself is pleading through us, imploring the lost on Christ’s behalf, to be reconciled to God. (1 Corinthians 5:20)
All of this becomes increasingly clear to us as we personally and privately worship God with a sincerity of heart. We are the first ones changed. Then we can effect change in the world. A man or woman who does not worship God, but instead has only an intellectual or theoretical relationship with God, will never change the world. Never. The world will not be won by better arguments or scientific proof. It will be won by worshipers who are so one with their Lord and Savior that they find themselves doing even greater works than Jesus. (John 14:12)
I would like to hear what you have learned about worship during the 30 / 30 challenge and beyond. I hope you will share that.