On this week’s Message Mondays post, let me delve into the age old mystery that has racked our brains for all of time. How do we worship, and what constitutes worship? I know, I know, I probably should be reserving this post for a Worship Wednesday post, however I feel like there is a message behind all of the explanations of different kinds of worship, which is why I chose to write this piece today.
A couple of days ago, we attempted to grasp and understand the concept of worshipping as a form of lifestyle and in the little things outside of the music, in church, when 3 people from the congregation spoke on their opinion of worship. It was a bit like 3 TED talks, and was very informative. So instead of telling you all what each of the three talks were about, let me break it down as to what the main message was overall. It was that worship is more than just music, that worship is our lifeline, that worship is loving others and loving ourselves the way God wants us to, and that worship is living a life that points to Jesus. Just… soak that in for a moment. What do you think of these concepts that we know in our head, but maybe not in our hearts?
But hang on, you say, don’t we have a genre called ‘worship music’, and isn’t there a time in church, when we worship? Yep, that is true, but in reality, the term ‘worship’ encompasses more than just the songs we sing on Sunday mornings. When I typed ‘worship definition’ into google, the definitions I found out were:
- the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity (with synonyms being reverence, adoration, devotion, praise, thanksgiving, exultation, respect, honour
- show reverence and adoration for (a deity) (with synonyms being the verbs of the nouns I just mentioned in the above definition)
Are these definitions strictly limited to songs and music? No, they are not. I think as Christians we can be blindsided by our preconceived ideas of the forms that worship can take, and I believe that it is God and only God who can realign what we believe about Him, and our worship to Him. When we sing to Jesus, should we raise our hands, lie down, sit, kneel, fall on our face, scream aloud, clap our hands, stomp our feet, dance, jump around, laugh, or even cry? When we worship, can we do that with rock music, pop music, country music, heavy metal music, rap music, songs for the radio, vertical worship music (or praise music), reggae music, jazz music, or even mainstream music? When we worship without music, what does that look like? Is it feeding the hungry and the homeless? Is it organising a fundraiser and a fair for overseas missions? Is it visiting friends in hospital and praying for them? Is it being for a friend in need, even if that friend doesn’t believe in Jesus? Is it working in your day job, even if it is monotonous, but working with a cheerful heart? I’ll let you stew on that for a while.
Romans 12:1 states that worship is offering our bodies to be living sacrifices to God, and I agree with this wholeheartedly. Not literally sacrificing our bodies, but in a spiritual sense, committing our lives to God 100%, and glorifying Him in everything we do. I believe it’s all about our heart and motivations, and if we get that right, our worship to God will be pure and our worship compared with others will not matter.
We won’t have our debates about style of music, or what we can or can’t do when it comes to worship. Because when we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, nothing else matters. God sees each of our worship as pure and holy, and we don’t need to be bigger, better, and flashier than the next person, for God to love us more, to see that we have the better worship. Because all worship is pleasing to God, and singing on a Sunday to Him holds just as much value and worth as feeding the homeless in the city on a Saturday night.
So let me ask you right now- what does your worship look like? No matter what it is, God is pleased, as we glorify our Maker and our Saviour in all that we do.
So let the take home message be this- don’t look to the right or the left in terms of other believers’ expressions of worship. Because you’ll always find something that you are jealous of. Just focus on your own worship with Jesus, and you’ll be surprised how much more you will feel satisfied and connected with God when you’re not worried about everything else around you.