Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What is Worship?

This morning in discussion with some guys the question was raised, "What is worship?"  This question is central to the Christian life because we were created to worship.  Let me first show one passage that tells us that we are created or at least chosen to worship.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9

Christians were chosen by God to worship Him.  We were chosen that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.  To further this point let me share with you a catechism of our faith.  In the Westminister Shorter Catechism the first point is this:

Q: "What is the chief end of man?"
A: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."

So, we were chosen to worship God.  Therefore, true worship requires that we be born again.  As 1 Peter says, "that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."  We must be called out of the darkness into the light because otherwise we are unable to see God.  To be in the darkness is to not correctly see God.

But we are still left with the question, "What is worship?"

Here is what worship isn't.  It isn't only something done once a week in a pew.  It isn't only trying to make ourselves worthy of the calling.  A. W. Tozer put it well when he said, "We please Him (God) most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything... and loves us still."

Here is what I think worship is: Worship is anything that demonstrates what one values or desires.

Given that definition we need to make sure that we are worshipping God.  A lot of what I do demonstrates that I value and desire myself or money or people.  How much of what I do demonstrates that I value and desire God?

We are left with another question.  "Why do we worship God?"  "Does He need it?"

First, let me say that God absolutely, without question, does NOT need our worship.  Why then does He ask for it?  He asks for it because we benefit from worshipping Him.  We were created and chosen to worship Him.  We are fulfilled by fulfilling our purpose.  We need to worship God; He doesn't need us to worship Him.

Secondly, we worship God for our own good.  We humans were designed to appreciate greatness.  Why else would we drive to the Grand Canyon to look at it?  Does the Grand Canyon need us to look at it in awesome wonder?  No; rather our spirit longs to be wowed.  God can wow our spirit in ways the Grand Canyon never could.  A. W. Tozer said, "The blessed and inviting truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings, and in our worship of Him, we should find unspeakable pleasure."

Worship is not just singing.  It should be everything we do and we should be thrilled in doing it.  Again, worship is anything that demonstrates what one values or desires.  Does your life demonstrate that you value and desire God?  Are you thrilled in Him?

Worship God in spirit and in truth today.


  1. So what if I am a Christian but am not "thrilled" in God? Does that mean I'm really not a Christian?

  2. I wouldn't say that you aren't a Christian if you are not thrilled in God. I would say that the more we mature in our understanding of who God is and what He has done for us we will be thrilled.

    I also have many times when I'm not thrilled in God, but that's not God's fault nor does it mean I'm not a Christian. But as we move closer to being made perfect in Christ we will be more and more thrilled in God.

    Again, I would not say that not being thrilled in God makes us not a Christian.

  3. So it's all on our shoulders to be thrilled in God and get close to Him? But we're imperfect sinful humans. What's He doing to make me want to be thrilled by Him? Doesn't seem to be answering my prayers for His closeness.

  4. It's all on Him to make us thrilled in Him. I don't understand why He doesn't answer all of our prayers for closeness right away but somehow He works it all in His time.

    I don't understand it all but I will pray that God brings you close to Him and causes you to be thrilled in Him.

  5. I should add that a friend of mine says, "even the desire to desire comes from God."