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What Is Worship?


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The word worship is hard to pin down with a single definition. In a traditional church setting, the word worship is used to define the section of the service where the congregation reads passages of Scripture, prays, and sings praises to God. There is not a single definition for the word worship, because it is multifaceted and contains many aspects. Generally speaking, worship is an act of reverent service to God. Greg Scheer writes in Essential Worship that, “Worship is not something we try to manufacture out of nothing; instead, it is a response to who God is. Believers worship God, because of who God is.” Psalm 95:6-7 states, “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” (ESV)

The Christian is supposed to worship in everything that they do. Colossians 3:17 teaches, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” So then, for the believer, they are supposed to worship Christ with everything they do. Whether you’re singing, playing an instrument, working on cars, cleaning swimming pools, building a house, collecting a paycheck, everything a Christian thinks or does can and should be an act of worship to God. 

How and why should the believer worship Christ and Christ alone? Colossians 3:3-4 explains, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” In other words, since Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice and rose from the grave, all who call on His name and trust in Him have eternal life, so we should praise and thank Him for this grace that believers do not deserve, but have abundantly been given.

On a Sunday morning, here at Oak Grove, you may hear the song  “Christ Be All.” An inspiration for this song comes straight from Colossians 3:11, which states, “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Because of what Christ did on the cross, only He is worthy of worship, and should be the only entity that is worshiped.

You may be reading this wondering, why not deity, why the word entity? I chose the word entity, because a person can find themselves worshiping anything. If the believer is not careful and intentional, one could find themselves worshiping relationships, money, sports, lust, addiction, job titles, or anything else that takes the place of God in your heart. Hebrews 12:1-2 provides encouragement, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (ESV). Therefore, God does not want you to worship just on a Sunday morning during the assigned segment, He wants you to always be looking to Him and putting Him first in every aspect of your life, worshiping Him without ceasing.

Perhaps one of the greatest passages to define worship would be Psalm 40:1-4, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord” (ESV). 

So then, what is worship? Worship is fixing our eyes on Jesus, praising Him personally, with our family, in our work, and every moment of our life. Jesus is the only one deserving of our worship, because He took our sins on the cross and resurrected all who trust in Him to everlasting life. What is worship? Worship is praying, “May Christ be all and I be nothing; it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”