Worship From the Heart
We are created to worship. Worship means to attribute value to a person or thing. To worship God is to express high value to Him. Worshiping God is much more than just a Sunday morning experience. While weekly church attendance is a good habit that has spiritual, social, and emotional benefits , our worship of God must be something we do on an ongoing basis. In one sense, all that we do to honor God is an expression of worship. Just as we are to grow in prayer, we are to grow in the area of how and why we worship God. This makes the worship experience more meaningful . For God does not accept any kind of worship. Jesus made this clear in a conversation that he had with a Samaritan woman in the book of John chapter four, verse twenty-four, “ God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit in truth.”
True worship of God begins with the condition of the heart. If our heart is not in it, then any outward expression becomes an act of vanity. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had this problem. He described them in Matthew’s gospel when he said “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain…”( Mt. 15:8) It becomes very easy to go through the motions of worship ,without doing it from the heart, if it is something we do only on Sunday. Also in public worship a person can be easily distracted by the people around him or her, if there has not been regular expressions of private worship. When we are just starting out as new Christians, it is very important that we nurture and develop in our private lives such disciplines as : prayer, scripture reading, praise , and adoration of God. In doing this , worship becomes more natural to us when we find ourselves in a public space.
In addition to what I have stated above, the Bible teaches us many other things about worship. First of all, worship should be exclusively directed to God. When you consider the definition of worship as attributing value to something or someone, there can be an unlimited number of objects or persons toward which we might extend our love and devotion. For instance, it is possible to worship another human being. We see this kind of adulation given to celebrities in the entertainment industry all the time. This same kind of human idolatry can and does exist within the church. For example, when a preacher is put on a pedestal it places that person in a position to receive the kind of adoration that should be only given to God. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the devil tried to entice Jesus to bow down and worship him. Jesus’ response is important for those of us who seek to worship in the right way: “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you ,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, away from me, Satan! For it is written: worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only .”(Mt. 4:8-10)
Secondly, as stated earlier, worship should come from the heart, but it should involve the whole person in how it is expressed. At the heart of true biblical worship is a life of obedience and service. Jesus said in John 14:15 “ if you love me, you will obey what I command.” So that if I truly love and worship God, it will be demonstrated not only in how I express myself in public service, but also in how I live my life each day in honoring God and serving others.One does not have to read the Psalms very long to see that worship of God can and should be demonstrative. When David describes his worship experience of God he unashamedly expresses his love , “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalm 63:2-4) This man looks up to God with his eyes, he praises God with his lips, and he raises his hands before the Lord…as an expression of honor and adoration. So as we grow in your relationship with God, we learn to worship Him sincerely and without reservation. Before we worry about whether or not we have all the right outward moves, we should make sure we start with the right heart, and then commit to giving our best praise and worship to God in the privacy of our lives. This kind of commitment and consistency in private worship will equip us and give us confidence to offer worship to God publically in a more natural way.
Finally, remember that human beings were created to offer worship to God. We are doing what we were created to do on earth ,and what we will be doing in Heaven forever (Revelation 4:8-11). To learn to worship and grow as a worshiper is simply doing what is a part of our destiny to do. Worship helps us get our relationship right with God. And when our relationship with God is what it should be, then our relationship with others can be what it is suppose to be as well.
Ernest Trice , Sr