On a scale of one to ten, how well do you worship God?
What? Isn’t our ability to worship defined by the quality of the worship service?
It might surprise you that I – and Richard Foster – include worship as a spiritual habit. As you think it through, you might remember Hebrews 10:25:
“ not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Is that what I’m getting at? The practice of worship means showing up every Sunday?
Two thoughts. First, this verse does not reference worship. It’s talking about meeting together to encourage each other. Second, just the act of meeting with other Christians is a mere starting point. Worship is much more involved. It’s something we get better at doing the longer we practice it.
Let’s take a look at what constitutes worship.
Check out these biblical examples. What do you learn about worship? Where are these people? What happened that caused a worship response? Is worship planned or spontaneous?
- Mt 2:1-2
- Genesis 22:1-5
- Exodus 4:30,31
- Exodus 8:1-3
Red Revelation 4:1-11. This chapter describes the ultimate worship service. What made it so special?
Revelation 4 reveals three benefits of worship:
- It centers us. Upon whom?
- It unites us. With whom?
- It encourages us. How does worship of God encourage you?
The content of worship:
The heavenly praise session continues in Revelation 5. After Jesus is declared as the only one who can open the seals on the scroll, Heaven bursts forth in a new round of rejoicing.
We often spend our time debating methods of worship. Instead, let’s look the attributes of God that makes Him worthy of our public ohonor.
- We extol God for who He is and for what He has done. Psalm 9:11;24:10; 64:9.
- Worship is defined in Revelation 4 and 5 by a duel focus on the sovereignty of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. These two elements are essential to include in every worship service.
You might think your own efforts of worship are clumsy. How can you improve your worship of God?
Back to the introduction. Don’t become dependent on a worship team to spoon feed your worship sessions. You can learn to worship God yourself. That way, you will be equipped to worship God in spirit and in truth no matter how mundane your church’s worship team is!
Here are eight ways to improve your worship of God and His Son.
- Center on God and God alone. Who or what do you love most in the world? God is a jealous God. He wants us to worship only Him. Our worship will be stronger if we remove all other allegiances. (see Psalm 81:9.)
- Get to know God. I’ve found that the more I know about God, the better equipped I am to worship Him.
- Spend more time in service. The more I serve Him, the more I partner with His plans and I get a closer look at what He is doing in the world. This leads me to a greater sense of worship. Service and worship are dancing partners. Worship springs from service; worship prepares us to serve.
- Surrender to His will. The greatest act of worship is to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and allow yourself to be transformed by His power and love. Read Romans 12:1,2
- Live daily for Jesus Christ. If you immerse yourself in the ways of the world all week long and don’t include God in the everyday, it’s very difficult to focus on worship of Him Sunday morning.
- Join other Christians. Worship is strengthened and compounded when done in community. Christianity is the only religion that worships corporately. Do you agree?
- Do it whether you feel like it or not. Worship is an act, not a feeling. God deserves our worship regardless of how our day is going or how we feel physically or emotionally.
- Make it a regular practice. Get into the habit of weaving worship of God into everything you do and to be planned and purposeful about your worship. Here are some verses to consider:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- Psalm 5:3
- Psalm 132:7
- Psalm 109:30
Worship can be as simple as telling God you love him or thanking Him for His justice, mercy, creation, or power. It can be as complex as engaging in a creative activity that extols His goodness and greatness, or gathering with a multitude of believers in a scripted, multi-layered worship service. The most important aspect is that you honor and revere God for who He is and what He does, and for the sacrifice Jesus made on your behalf.
As you continue to practice worship, follow Jesus in obedience, and serve Him faithfully, your worship will grow beyond a sense of duty. You’ll crave those times of coming before the Lord. You’ll look forward to the Grand Gathering of Revelation 4.
The culmination of building spiritual habits of faithfulness is so beautifully summed up in this song by Bill Gaither:
The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows;
The more that I love Him more love He bestows.
Each day is like Heaven, my heart overflows.
The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows.
As you practice the presence of God in your life, may you find that your relationship gets better and sweeter each day.