When will we learn what it means to worship God truly? The people of God exist to worship and serve Him. They are privileged to come before Him, to commune with Him, to offer the sacrifice of praise, and to commit themselves to knowing and doing His will.
The joy of belonging to God, of being His workmanship, is far greater than any human estimate. The joy of serving and worshiping Him is ever increasing, and by His design is serving to transform us into His likeness.
Worship is essential, and it is not easy. It is an incredibly demanding spiritual activity. All who would engage in worship must begin with an examination of their own heart, giving careful attention to attitude and motive. They must come to understand that worship is not about them, but is about God. They must come to know the purpose and value of every aspect of worship. Those who would truly worship are under the obligation to prepare for and then participate in it wholeheartedly, even desiring to lose their selves in adoration of the Lord.
Worship is holy. It originates with the decree of God, and is a holy response to Him. Activities which originate with man cannot be offered to God as worship! Human innovations are not only inappropriate they are unworthy and unholy! One dare not offer unto God that which is not holy!
Worship is an act of obedience. The ruling passion in the heart of the people of God, and the stated objective of their worship and service is obedience to the Father. If this objective is abandoned, many things might be done, but who would dare call it worship?
If the objective is to please man – to please self – not God, how can it be to the glory of God? In this particular, there is a vast difference between “God has spoken,” and “after much study, we have decided.”
Obedience to God is irrefutable evidence of sincere faith. Worship, if it is to be God-centered and pure, is fueled by the desire to do only that which is true and right; that which the Father desires. The foundation of worship is faith, its action is obedience, its motive is holiness, and its aim is the honoring of the Lord.
Worship is in every aspect an act of faith. Faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). That which is not of faith, that which does not originate in biblical truth is not only empty, it is worthless. There are no true spiritual benefits to be derived from such. God requires that we come to Him in faith, and abide under the control of that faith (Hebrews 11:6). Worship that is offered to God must be ruled by loyalty to Him and to His will.
Worship is an act of the understanding. Of necessity, worship is the application of the mind to the majesty and glory of the Lord, and it is the intelligent acknowledgement of His sovereignty. Worship is coming to apprehend His attributes and their glory manifest in Christ. It is coming before Him on the basis of spiritual reality. Worship is an intelligent response to God (1 Corinthians 14:15).
It is to be insisted that worship is reasonable and that it is rational. In worship the mind is set upon God. An act of the senses cannot be an act of worship! Christian conduct and Christian worship is always a rational act involving rational faculties. Activities growing out of ignorance cannot rise to the level of the spiritual. Sensual acts can never rise to the level of the spiritual worship.
Spiritual worship proceeds from the spirit of man – from the depths of his being. It is essential that one’s heart and mind be cast into the mold of the truth of God – the gospel of Christ so that one might be able to respond to the Lord in the actions and attitudes that He requires.
Spiritual life must precede spiritual devotion. Until one is in Christ and is one with Him, he cannot engage in spiritual devotions.
Being in Christ is as essential to spiritual life and worship as unity of the body and soul is essential to physical life. It is not possible for anything to exceed the limits of its nature. A beast of the field cannot conduct itself like a man, nor can a man conduct himself as an angel. One devoid of spiritual character cannot engage in acts of spiritual devotion; though he may go through the motions.
What can proceed from a heart that is not yielded to the Lord? It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).
Is it possible for the carnally-minded to offer spiritual sacrifice? It is sobering to consider how often the carnally minded demonstrated their willingness to corrupt the worship of God.
In some places the leaders of the church defer to men, to human preference and taste. Are such leaders spiritual or carnal? What is evident when human preference and taste is allowed to trump the will of God?
Spiritual worship is ruled by simplicity and sincerity; the simplicity of the gospel and the sincerity of the soul. Pretense is not worship! Performance is not worship! External rites and empty ceremonies are not worship! God is neither impressed nor honored by pomp and ceremony.
It ever remains that God is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). It also remains that learning to worship will ever be a part of our existence.