What does the word, “worship”, mean to you? My guess is that most of us would give a definition that falls short of what God expects from us. Most of our definitions would have more to do with our own personal preferences than with the One who we are suppose to be worshipping. For some, worship is going to receive a weekly fix from God. We choose where we go according to what makes us feel good. Some would define it by the music and others by the message preached. Most would measure the success or failure of our worship by what we get from it.
All of these things share one thing in common. They revolve around self. They reflect a form of worship that is evaluated by what we get and not by what we give. This is a far cry from what the Bible teaches about worship. Biblical worship is not about us at all. It is not about whether we sing hymns or choruses. It is not about our entertainment. It is about paying homage to the Creator of all that is. If our motive for worship is to receive a blessing, we will go away feeling empty. If our motive is to give honor and glory to God, we will be blessed in ways we can not imagine.
With these things in mind, ask yourself, “When was the last time I genuinely worshipped?” If you are honest, you may have to admit that it has been longer than you like to think. To correct the problem, you need to redefine worship. Worship can not be confined to an hour on Sunday morning. In his book, Gripped by the Greatness of God, James MacDonald writes, “God won’t meet you at church on Sunday, if His ways have been banned from you home throughout the week.” His words are a profound reminder that genuine worship involves more that what we do on Sunday morning. It involves how we live our lives.
The Israelites had trouble understanding this concept. They were absorbed in the ritual of their faith but their lives did not reflect the truth that the rituals represented. The Prophet Isaiah identified that problem and gave the solution in Isaiah 1:13-17. He wrote,
“Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me, new moon and Sabbath, the calling of assemblies _ I can not endure iniquity and the solemn assembly, I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me, I am weary of bearing them. So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless; defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (NASB)
There is no greater gift we can give to our God than worship. That is, if we realize that true worship involves our entire lives. We can not compartmentalize it and we can not confine it to a specific time of the day or the week. It means that we commit to honoring our Creator in all that we say and do. If we have failed in the past as we all have, it does not mean that we can not start fresh today. That is the beautiful thing about God’s grace.
Join me in committing to worship God completely this week.