Sunday, 26 July 2015

What is True Worship?

The following are the main points of a devotion I wrote and presented to the group of leaders at the camp I attended recently.  :)


What is true worship?
To find out what true worship is, it is first helpful to ask ourselves what it isn't.

True worship is not:
  • Us trying to get God to do what we want by bargaining with Him e.g.“If you do what I want, I’ll worship you.”
It doesn't work like that. God is the one in charge, not us. Who are we to bargain with the great and mighty King of the universe? We owe Him so much. We are in no position to bargain with God.

  • Something we do because we feel like we should.
Worship should never be done out of the wrong motives, such as guilt or shame. We must worship the Lord because we love Him for who He is, not because we feel guilty that we haven't gone to Church for three Sundays in a row!

  • Something we do because that’s what good ‘spiritual Christians’ do.
Nobody is perfect. If we look at others and secretly feel bad because we're not as good as them, it makes us the judge, not God. God is the judge and He's the only true judge. He sees our hearts. If we are worshipping out of a desire to glorify God for who He is, then that's all that matters. It shouldn't be something we do because that's what you're supposed to do as a Christian.

  • A ticket to get to Heaven
If we live sinful lives during the week, turn up at Church, sing a few songs and go home again to our normal lives, then expect God to let us into Heaven because we worship once a week, wow, we're mistaken. Worship is not a ticket to get to Heaven. The only ticket to Heaven is Christ. 

  • Something we do because we feel like it.
As I talk about a wee bit later on, sometimes the times when we feel the least like praising the Lord are the times when we need to the most. We should never worship only because we're in 'the right' mood!

  • Us worshipping our own gods that we’ve made for ourselves
This isn't talking about making a little wooden image and bowing down to it. This is talking about the fact that sometimes we can intentionally or unintentionally create a god for ourselves, by taking our God, then ascribing to Him attributes that are convenient to us but that are foreign to His true nature. This is making a false god. And when we worship a god we've created for ourselves based on who we'd like him to be not who He actually is,  our True God doesn't get the praise.

  • Something we do so the people around us will think better of us, or a chance for us to impress the people on either side of us with our beautiful voices.
Sorry, but you shouldn't be singing loudly and lustily so the people ten rows behind you will be impressed. Sing loudly and lustily because you're singing with all your heart and you're meaning what you're saying!

I'm sure you can all think of many, many more things that true worship isn't. So can I, but let's leave that topic for now, and have a wee look at some of the things that true worship is. :)

True worship is:

  • A heart to heart conversation between you and a Holy God.
Psalm 99:5
Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.

Worship is a conversation. When you’re singing songs, the words in those songs is your prayer to God. How often do you actually think about the words you are singing? Or do you just sing mindlessly the words you've sung fifty times before, without thinking of what you're actually singing, and making it your personal prayer to God?

  • Honest and truthful. 
John 4:23-24
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Sometimes we have our own agendas when we come before God. We want Him to do something for us. But we have to learn to lay aside our own agendas and desires and just praise Him for the wonderful God that he is. We’ve got to worship Him in spirit, so with the right motives, and in truth, so honestly pouring out our hearts to him, leaving nothing hidden or behind.

  • Free, not bound by rules
Isaiah 29:13
The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

True worship is a freeing thing. It’s coming to God bare and broken, if necessary. It’s giving up everything. It's not bound by the rules of the Church telling us how we should worship. Or the rules of anyone else, for that matter. It's not restricted whatsoever.

  • Born out of the desire to do nothing more than to just glorify our heavenly Father.
Psalm 34:1-3 (emphasis mine)
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Even in the hard times, as well as in the good times, God is still God, and he remains the same, the same wonderful, holy God, who still loves our worship. I believe it is our privilege to praise God no matter what’s going on. 
Worshipping God when you’re at your lowest point is not an easy thing to do. And I can speak from experience when I say that, because I've been there. But there’s something truly special about that place when you come to God, absolutely broken, having nothing left, and truly worship Him, regardless of what's going on.

I’d like to close with two quotes on worship that I absolutely love.

John MacArthur: “Worship is our innermost being responding with praise for all that God is, through our attitudes, actions, thoughts, and words, based on the truth of God as He has revealed Himself”. Or, he gives a simpler definition: “Worship is all that we are, reacting rightly to all that He is”

William Temple: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God”.

May you be greatly blessed! :)
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  1. This was great Bonnie :)

  2. I love this post Bonnie. :-) I particularly love the picture at the bottom, soooo cute! I can't decide what animal it is, but it is so adorable!

    1. I think it's a meerkat or a groundhog thingy.


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