What attitude do we have when we enter into worship of God? How do we view the act of worship, and what importance do we place on that action? We may fall into mundane patterns of comfortable repetition, and we allow life to exit the worship process in our attempts to keep worship proper and truthful.
There are several Greek words translated as worship, but the most common has connotations of showing homage and respect, bowing down, and humbling one’s self in reverence before the object of worship. Worship is derived from “worth,” and the point of worship is to demonstrate the worth of the one worshiped. Psalms 96:1-9 speaks of the glory to God “due His name.”
Our worship should be centered around and focused solely upon our God. Worship should reflect the character and worth of the God we worship.
Mistaken Patterns of Worship in the Bible
The Samaritan Mistake. In John 4, a Samaritan woman questions Jesus about proper worship once convinced of Jesus’ authority on spiritual matters. She focuses on the right thing, but she concentrates on the wrong aspect. She focuses on the physical place of worship, but Jesus refocuses her to more spiritual matters and perfecting her knowledge. There is an important relationship between knowledge and worship, and, without knowing God’s word, our ability to worship is severely impaired. Worship is truly spiritual, and it is rooted in God’s word.
The Pharisee Mistake. In Mark 7:5, the scribes and the Pharisees ask Jesus about His apostles and their disregard for the traditions of their people. In contrast to the Samaritan woman, these individuals are overconfident in form and tradition. Jesus accuses them of outward honor with distant hearts. (Also see I Samuel 15:22 and Malachi 1:6-8.) Also, II Timothy 3:5 speaks of people who hold a “form of godliness” but deny God’s power in their hearts. In this mistake, tradition and form can supersede meaningfulness. God does care about worshipping in truth, but we cannot place such an emphasis on the physical that we lose any and all spiritual reverence in our worship. Colossians 3:12 emphasizes the type of heart we should have as worshippers of God.
We sing “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.” Do we mean this? We can become too involved with the details of our worship, but it is not a recipe in which we have to get the ingredients just so. We become consumed with details, and we lose the meaning of what we do. On the other hand, we may try to avoid unscriptural worship so stringently with our forms and traditions that we enter into worship that has become cold and impersonal.
Do we place emphasis over times of worship, over the order of worship, over the fixtures of the building, over the duration of worship? We should rightly be concerned with worshipping God the way He wants to be worshipped, but our hearts should be in the spiritual matters, focusing on the worship of our God, demonstrating that we mean it when we sing “Worthy Art Thou.”
What is the most important thing on your schedule this week? No matter what else is happening, worship should be the most important activity we engage in. We are praising our Creator, sanctifying and glorifying His name, and our actions and attitudes should reflect the One we worship. Our worship should be characterized by the belief that God is among us when we praise Him.
lesson by Tim Smelser