Worship — What Do We Mean By It?

Article by Tom Gilbert

The act of loving God with our whole mind, body and spirit is true worship. How we go about this is demonstrated in our actions. You don't have to be in church to worship. You can worship there. You should. But your worship should go beyond this.

The English origin of the word "worship" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "worth-ship", meaning "declaring worth". That's interesting, isn't? When you gather with others to worship, be it one other believer or a building full, you are there declaring the worth of your belief.

Does it seem that many are caught up in the appearance of worship without the real substance? Critics of religion like to point to the hypocrisy they see in those who profess God through their religious observance and fail to live up to the standards of their faith. This is unfortunate, but I can relate because I once felt this way.

When I was a teenager I encountered God at a prayer meeting. At first I was excited and enthused. Later I became discouraged. It all seemed to be based in emotion. "These people were just fooling themselves," I thought. They were whipping themselves up into frenzy and becoming convinced it was real.

Well, it is real—God, our separation, and His way of paying the price for us. I couldn't see it then. It took more self-centered living and suffering from the consequences before I could accept the truth. I totally missed the point that it is not about a set of rules and rituals. It's about a relationship–a personal one between God and me. This is fundamental and true for all of us.

How should we worship?

I think it starts with opening our heart to a big loving God and expressing deep, heartfelt gratitude. God could have made us with free will and then when we rejected Him and chose to run our own lives He could have just left it at that. Fine. On your own. Good luck.

Well, He didn't do that. He sent Jesus, God in human form, to bring us back. God never gave up on us. He decided on a plan to reconcile our imperfect (sinful) nature with His perfection. He built a bridge. That deserves some gratitude on our part.

Worship should also mean a time of fellowship, teaching, learning and praise.

If we don't have the above then what are we left with? Ignorance. Ingratitude. Self-centeredness. There is way too much of that in the world already.

If you attend a worship service your participation will declare the worth of your beliefs. It requires a complete occupation of your mind and soul with God. It's a deliberate focusing of our thoughts and feelings on God. The rewards of that are inspiration and inner joy. We are filled with the Spirit. Our sense of wonder and awe should be great.

Philip Yancey put it so well in an interview with Zondervan Publishing. He said "Church exists primarily not to provide entertainment or to encourage vulnerability or to build self-esteem or to facilitate friendships but to worship God; if it fails in that, it fails."

Our worship must be only of God. Idolatry is forbidden and that doesn't just mean worshipping some other "mystical" deity. Whatever we put first, before God is an idol. It can be sex, money, prestige, other people or our self. That is the way to ruin.

Get on the high road and worship in truth and love.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.

NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® and NIV® are registered trademarks of International Bible Society. Use of either trademark for the offering of goods or services requires the prior written consent of International Bible Society.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189, USA. All rights reserved.

Provided By: http://www.livingthesolution.com/worship.htm 


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