I’ve been thinking about worship this morning. Worship is like a faceted diamond. How do you describe it in just one sitting or with one glance? This is a subject for several teaching sessions…
Three facets of this “jewel” came to me this morning.
There is a book entitled “Worship is a Verb!” This is such an appropriate title because worship is active… it is something we DO… worship is an offering to God flowing out of a heart full of love and gratitude!
The three facets of worship to which I’m referring…
1. The Attitude of Worship
2. The Acts of Worship
3. The Heart of Worship
THE ATTITUDE OF WORSHIP
• What is attitude? How do we define it? The word “attitude” has both a physical and a psychological connotation. Webster’s defines attitude as “the position of posture assumed by the body in connection with an action, feeling or mood… a manner of acting, feeling or thinking… one’s disposition, opinion or mental state.”
The Attitude of Worship has more to do with our mental and emotional posture than it does with our physical posture.
The Attitude of Worship has to do with the posture of our heart…
This Attitude of Worship doesn’t begin when we walk in the front door of the church…
Psalm 100 says, “Make a joyful shout to the Lord all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise! Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations!”
The Attitude of Worship begins in our private devotional time… before we ever leave our house. Before we ever join together in worship, we need to prepare our heart posture. How do we do this?
• By meditating on God’s Word in preparation for worship services.
• By spending time in prayer before service begins.
• By confessing any sin that could hinder our fellowship with God.
• By reflecting on the things for which we are thankful.
• By praying over our corporate worship each time we think of it.
• By listening to and singing along with worship music.
If we do these things, we can come into this the church building ready to worship. Our hearts and minds will be in a posture ready to worship.
THE ACTS OF WORSHIP
Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Paul is saying… “reason it out… He gave His life for us… thus we give our lives for Him.”
The Greek word translated “service” here is used to refer to an act of worship. The word “reasonable” suggests a rational response to God’s mercies is to commit ourselves, our lives in an act of worship. From the psychological attitude of worship, we move to a response in the “reasonable” Acts of Worship.
I keep coming back in my mind to that book title, “Worship is a Verb.”
Worship is something we DO! In the simplest terms, worship is giving back to God that which is rightfully His… and doing this with a thankful heart.
There are many acts of worship:
• Kneeling (a symbol of reverence in God’s presence)
• Bowing our Heads (also a symbol of reverence)
• Raising our Hands (symbolic of surrender)
• Giving of our Tithes and Offerings (an act of love and obedience)
• Serving our Brothers & Sisters (also an act of love and obedience)
The list goes on and on… but each act refers to that living sacrifice of ourselves, our resources…
THE HEART OF WORSHIP
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in John chapter 4, He told her that God was seeking those people who would worship Him in Spirit & Truth.
Let’s read from John chapter 4 starting with verse 3:
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God IS spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
This could be a study all on its own… but briefly, let’s look into the Greek of the words “spirit” and “truth.” We can gain some insights into what Jesus was trying to communicate here.
Spirit, or in Greek “pneuma” means rushing wind and is derived from the root word “pneo,” which means to blow. These are actually the root words from which we derive our terms for the human respiratory system… one of the main systems in our body that keeps us alive… you quit breathing, you quit living. Jesus is saying here that he wants us to find our very life… the air we breathe, in Him… He wants to be our life!
A couple of years ago I made a trip to Nebraska for a work related conference. On the plane, somebody told me a Nebraska joke… “one day in Nebraska the wind stopped blowing and everyone fell over…” I didn’t “get” the joke until I got off the plane and the Nebraska wind just about blew me over! The wind in Nebraska constantly blows. After a few days there, I learned, like a good Nebraskan, to LEAN into the wind, to work with the wind… not against it. The Nebraskans had learned an important lesson… they had learned to trust the wind… they knew it would always blow… so they trusted it and leaned into it!
• God wants us to “LEAN INTO THE WIND” of His Holy Spirit. Worshipping God in spirit means worshipping under His influence, under His control. Basically the first criteria Jesus speaks of here is that a person have a relationship with Him… that they trust in God’s Word and are LEANING INTO THE WIND of His Holy Spirit rather than fighting against it. During worship, when we feel the tears begin to flow… this is God’s way of softening us towards Him, don’t fight it… LEAN INTO THE WIND of the moving of His Holy Spirit!
• Second, Jesus said that God is looking for people who will worship Him in Truth. The word here is “alethia” which has a connotation of veracity, reality, sincerity, accuracy, integrity, dependability, and propriety. Worship is grounded in the truth of WHO GOD IS! The more we know God the deeper our worship will take us. It is that Heart of Worship we seek… that depth of experience… KNOWING GOD!
• The Heart of Worship is found in a living, breathing relationship with the Creator of the universe! With a living, breathing relationship, the attitude and the acts of worship come naturally… they flow out of a Heart of Worship!
• We come into His presence with an Attitude of Worship… expecting His Spirit to move.
• We present ourselves as a living sacrifice through our Acts of Worship.
• We experience a deep relationship with God through obedience to the Spirit and knowledge of the truth… this relationship is the Heart of Worship!