Even before you knew Jesus, you worshipped something or someone. It might have been money, your significant other, your child, your career, or yourself. Maybe it was a saint or person you desired to be like. Whatever it was, whoever it was, there was something you worshipped. Whatever it is you seek to satisfy, devote your time to, and make your priority, is what you have chosen to worship.
Since each discipline we practice earnestly is a form of worship, we are going to look at worship first. We will look at what is considered classic worship and remember that everything we do with an attitude of doing in Jesus’ name is worship. But first, I want to examine what we normally consider to be worship.
John 4:22-24 reads,
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
You must know God to worship Him as He desires. If you worship Him in a way that doesn’t coincide with His will, you worship yourself, your song, your act, not the LORD. To worship God, you must worship Him in spirit, that is with your spirit earnestly joining His and in truth, that is knowing who you worship and why you worship Him. You can’t just dance and think that you are worshipping, you can’t just sing a ‘worship’ song and think that is worship. Worship requires taking the truth of God and celebrating it, applying it, praying it, and giving it back to God.
The first kind of worship we will look at is the worship of celebration. Worship is a celebration. It is a celebration of who God is and who you are in Him. Worship can be a joyful experience. Psalm 16:5-11 reads,
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
In this Psalm, David tells the Lord why He is being worshipped; it is a joyful song during difficult circumstances because David proclaimed the truth to God. This kind of celebratory worship can happen anywhere we choose to revel in God’s Goodness and Awesomeness. When we choice to point out what it is about God that gives us a reason to rejoice and then rejoice it could be during a church service as you sincerely sing, “You are a good good Father, You are worthy, You surround me, You protect and sustain me, You are risen!” It can happen at dinner when you and your friends or family talk about and rejoice in the Lord. It can happen while you are alone delighting in God’s creation, provision, or presence. It can be expressed in a song, a dance, a laugh, a hug, words, or prayers.
Worship is meant to bless God, not us. He does not have to give us a good feeling while we worship, but He so often does, more so, when we are choosing to begin with joy. This kind of worship brings about other results as well. It keeps us in a mind of thankfulness, of optimistically looking for what we have rather than considering what we do not have. It keeps our mind on the presence of God as He is actively with us. The more we practice celebrating Jesus, the more natural it will be for us.
Celebratory worship can take us out of the worst weeping to bless God. What could be more heartfelt worship than choosing to tell God how wonderful He is during a time of deep sorrow. It reminds us that God is always with us, He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5) and His mercies are new every morning. He isn’t just going to drop us and say, “her life is too much for me. It’s too hard.” No! When you recognize that He is with you even in the most desperate times, the despair you feel finds hope and joy. In Lamentations 3:17-18 Jeremiah describes himself this way,
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
18 so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.”
But then, he chooses to worship God, to tell God how good He is and proclaim the awesome power and love of God back to Him. Lamentations 3:22-24 reads,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Jeremiah wasn’t “feeling it” but he declared God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness anyway. He spoke the truth of who God is to God in celebration and his soul went from being bereft of peace and hope to knowing the Lord was all he needed and filled with hope. God always knows who He is, it is us who need reminding.
This is the kind of worship described in Revelation 4
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
The celebration in Heaven is singing out the truth to Jesus and giving Him back the blessings He gives.
Believer, I encourage you today, to find reasons to celebrate Jesus. I encourage you to worship Him, exult in Him, and be reminded of just how wonderful God is.