You may have heard the word “worship” used synonymous with music or singing or idolizing someone, but the concept of “worship” explained in the Bible is an all-encompassing expression of how you respond to things throughout your lifetime.
Worship involves all aspects of your life (e.g., people, possessions, food, drink, rest, abilities, resources, health, work, technology, retirement, and entertainment). Everything and anything you pursue wholeheartedly with fixated thoughts (mind, intellect) and emotions (love, affection, desire, obsession) accompanied with consistent action (time, energy, strength, resources) – those aspects of your life are what you truly worship!
Did you know God invites you to worship Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? (reference Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 22:37-38) This invitation means God desires you to give Him an appropriate and reasonable response to who He is by ascribing all praise, honor, and glory to Him.
Consider the words of the psalmist in Psalm 100:1-5:
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
The words of Psalm 100 express the attitude of the psalmist’s heart toward God. It also invites God’s people to respond to God through declarations and actions.
Unfortunately, a recurring theme in the Old Testament is God coming near to His people and them responding with duplicity rather than worshiping God. They declare worth and honor to lesser things of this earth through their thoughts and actions instead of ascribing God the praise, honor, and glory that is due Him. The Lord says:
These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Isaiah 29:13
In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul summarizes the behaviors of God’s people from the Old Testament by recalling their response to God when God provided both spiritual and physical freedom and provision for them. Paul describes how God’s people often turn away from God and worship other things. They give their praise to something or someone other than God. Paul writes,
These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. 1 Corinthians 10:6-7
In John 4, we read about Jesus having a spiritual conversation with a woman at a well. When Jesus shares personal knowledge about this woman with her, she declares that Jesus “must be a prophet” (John 4:19). Then she asks Jesus a question about worship, and Jesus responds:
So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:20-24
The woman asks Jesus, who she believes is a prophet of God, a question about worship. Jesus acknowledges her life experience and religious beliefs in His response. He explains several things about worship to her in His response. Worship is not a matter of physical location – Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim. Worship is for the one true God who brings salvation, so get to know and worship the one true God. Worship is a spiritual connection that God desires between Himself and those who know Him personally through Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit, so seek to grow in your worship of God in spirit – the attitude of the heart, and worship God in truth – your beliefs and actions.
When God invited His people to worship Him on Mount Sinai and receive His promises, God’s voice shook the earth, and His people were terrified and frightened (reference Hebrews 12:18-21). But the writer of Hebrews assures anyone who knows God personally through belief in Jesus that God is inviting them to worship Him not in a specific, physical location but instead to ascribe to God the praise, honor, and glory that is due Him anywhere and everywhere. Why? Because God embraces them as His children and has made them part of God’s forever kingdom.
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28
Worship is the full expression of how you respond to God – all that He is and all that He has done for you throughout your entire life. That is why true worship requires all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength to appreciate the reality that God desires you to know Him and be with Him forever.
My prayer for you – May you grow to respond to God in spirit, the attitude of your heart, and worship God in truth, through your beliefs and actions, as an expression of true worship of God in all things and for all the days of your life through seeking to know God more and more so you can ascribe to Him all the praise, honor, and glory that is due Him.
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