What Is Worship?
Whether you have been walking with the Lord for a long time, or for a short time, you have probably heard the word 'worship'. Many christians say 'In the morning I have devotion or worship' or 'On Fridays I have family worship'. Maybe you've even been invited to a 'worship service' at a friend's church. But what even is worship? What counts as worship?
Let's define worship!
By definition, worship is to honor, show reverence for, show strong feeling of respect and admiration for, to pay homage to, or to ascribe worth to God. And, in the Bible, our example book, we typically see worship in the form of testimony, prayer, song, and praise (including with instruments and/or dance!)
Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by God, and in sharing his testimony, he worshipped (Daniel 4:34-37)
If there were a song that simultaneously is a song of worship and describes what worship is, Psalm 96 would be it! There are, however, songs all throughout the bible. One example is the song Mary sang upon her visit with Elizabeth (Luke 1:46-55).
When the ark of the Lord was returned to the city of David, David danced before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14-15,21) In fact, many of David's songs of praise and worship are found in the book of Psalms! Psalm 150, the last song in the book, is an exciting song of praise and includes many instruments, reflecting what is found all throughout the book.
But wait, there's more!
There are examples of worship that we don't often think of as worship. Through obedience to God and service of others, we can honor and pay homage to God, and that is worship.
God explicitly told the Israelites, in the ten commandments, not to have any idols or to serve anyone but Him (Exodus 20:3-6). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego showed reverence when they obeyed this command, and refused to worship the idol King Nebuchadnezzar set up (Daniel 3:12). Jesus Himself showed this same honor when He refused to worship the devil (Luke 4:5-8).
God is pleased when we share sacrificially with others (Hebrews 13:16). It is unsurprising, then, that the command was given to the Israelites to give to the needy with an open hand (Deuteronomy 15:11). In fact, when Jesus walked the Earth, he emphasized the importance of being selfless. Furthermore, He made clear that He did not come into the world to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:42-45). What better way to honor God and show respect toward Him, than to do the very thing He did?!
So, what now?
The good news about all these examples of worship, is that they show we can worship God at all times! Whether it be in song, prayer, or service, what matters is your spirit, your heart posture.
God calls us to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). This means that in worshipping Him we ought to understand the truth of Him and our hearts be aligned with Him. Jesus was not pleased with the Pharisees and Scribes because they were hypocrites. They worshipped only with their lips and did not follow God, but rather man-made tradition. Their hearts were far from Him (Mark 7:6-8).
Amigos, Colossians 3:17,23 reminds us that whatever we do it should be done to the Lord. We can worship by fixing a friend's computer, washing dishes, cooking, sharing His word, singing in our bedroom. We can worship while we're driving or with our friends. We can worship anytime and anywhere! We can even worship in silence!
Today, reflect on ways you can show honor and admiration for God, pray, and then execute!