I once heard a minister say that worship isn’t the thing we do on a Sunday morning before the message but that worship was something we do everyday. It made me question myself and if I truly understood what worship was. So, I looked up the definition in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
1) chiefly British: a person of importance – used as a title for various official (such as magistrates and some mayors)
2) reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an factor of expressing such reverence
3) a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
extravagant respect of admirations for or devotion to an object of esteem (ex: worship of the dollar)
– Thesaurus: excessive admiration of or devotion to a person (example: the worship of professional athletes who often turn out to be all too fallible)
Synonyms: adulation, deification, hero worship, idolatry, idolization, worshipping (worshiping)
– Related Words: adoration -excessive or slavish admiration or flattery; deference -respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; glorification-to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration; reverence; veneration-respect or awe inspired by the dignity, wisdom, dedication, or talent of a person; idealization; romanticization; affection, fancy, favor, fondness, like, liking, love; appreciation, esteem, regard, respect; approval.
Looking specifically at number three in the line up, it says, “a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual,” giving the notion that worship is a physical act. After reading this I needed to understand what the scripture had to say about worship. I entered the word worship into my phone bible app. It pulled up 116 verse (NIV) in the old testament and 44 verses (NIV) in the new testament with worship in them; I began reading and this is what I learned…
God asked for His people to worship Him only; their sacrifices, burnt offerings, and fellowship offerings were “acts” of worship for God alone!! He say’s in Exodus 34:14, “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” He says His name is “Jealous” and goes on the say in Deuteronomy 5:9 that He would punish the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generations of those who bowed down and “worshiped” other gods, because God looked at that has hate against him. God placed some pretty strict warnings for those who chose to use their acts of worship with other gods.
In 1 Kings 3:1-14 Solomon worshiped God through offerings and sacrifices. Not in a small way like a couple of doves and maybe a fatted calf but through a thousand sacrifices….it must have taken a long time…to be in a state of worship that long took dedication, commitment, and love. No one does all that unless they truly love something! The Lord saw Solomon by his worship and came to him in a dream, allowing Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted. What if God was willing to do the same for you? What would that look like today? We obviously don’t make a thousand sacrifices on an alter anymore!
So what is worship for us?
Worship is a physical act, it’s not something we do emotionally. It something that requires action. The old testament worship required sacrifice of animals, grains, and incense; offerings brought before the Lord in exchange for forgiveness, blessing, and praise. And, although Jesus did not come to change the law but to fulfill it, His ultimate sacrifice did change how we worship. No longer would we bring animals or grain or incense before a physical alter, now we bring our bodies before God as living sacrifices. We have evolved from physical acts of worship now to spiritual acts of worship. We are called in Romans 12:1-8 to this spiritual act of worship by serving the body of Christ, the church and believers, by using our gifts in proportion with our faith. When you take the time out to pray with someone you are creating an act of worship before the Lord. When you serve your brother or sister in Christ with your gifts, sacrificing of yourself to uplift them, your act is viewed as worship!
For so long, I thought worship was what we did before the service on Sunday mornings, lifting our hands and singing loudly, but that is consider praise and although just as vital it is in-fact the people serving around you in that service that are truly showing act’s of worship. The Apostle Paul urged us in Romans 12:1-8 to offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
“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, please and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly then you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gifts is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” ~ Romans 12:1-8
Paul is saying that each one of us has a vital role in the body of Christ. Just like the human body has many parts that help it function as a whole, we as the body of Christ each have a function that helps the body of believers, and we need to use our gifts to serve one another. Using these gifts according to our faith is the spiritual act of worship that is a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Jesus served us by becoming the lamb in place of our sins, drawing God to look upon us as blameless and blessed just as Solomon’s sacrifices found favor with God. Jesus was the act of worship (a service of love) before the thrown of God which brought us under a favorable view with God allowing Him to pour his mercy and blessing over us. Because of this selfless sacrifice we no long have to atone our sins on an alter, but this act also brought us into a relationship with God and under a new state of worshipping Him. Now our bodies in life are a sacrifice of worship. How much better could we show our love to through our actions.
So what is worship today? Worship is the act of serving others and serving is an act of love. Love others, serve them through your gifts…worship God through the works of your hands, words, gifts, and faith. Let your body, your mind, will, and emotions, your actions and deeds, be a living sacrifice of worship to the Lord.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” ~ Colossians 3:23
Have you truly worshiped God today??