My heart sank when I recently heard these words come out of a friend’s mouth. “That’s ok, worship isn’t how I connect with God anyway.”
It was said casually in response to someone expressing regret our friend had missed out on the worship at a small gathering. And there didn’t seem to be much thought as to what that sentiment really meant – as if they were ok missing out on the pizza.
Would it surprise you if I revealed it was a comment by someone in ministry?
Just because someone loves and serves God doesn’t mean they’re inoculated against worship apathy or ignorance. I wish it did, because I know the benefits to their personal and ministry life would be incalculable.
The misunderstanding and undereducation regarding what the Bible teaches us to be called to as worshipers of our Savior continues to baffle and sadden me. This friend is just one of many God-loving people I’ve heard make similar comments. Yet many churches expend little energy teaching us why it’s important to make the worship of God a personal and corporate priority – and what that really means for us.
So what do I deeply long for people like my friend to understand?
Worship isn’t just another activity on a smorgasbord of things Christians have to pick and choose from – and therefore ok to ignore. Because . . .
1) God commands us to worship Him.
“YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY” (Matthew 4:10 NASB).
And remember, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me” (John 14:21a NASB).
2) God deserves our worship.
“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom” (Psalm 145:3 NIV).
“Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness” (Psalm 150:1-3 NASB).
3) God’s purpose for us is to be His worshipers.
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11 NASB).
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers” (John 4:23 NASB).
4) God wired us to grow in transforming intimacy with Himself and in the maturity of our faith through our worship.
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:1-5 NASB).
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
5) God wired the church to grow and thrive as a result of their worship together.
“Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people, And praise Him at the seat of the elders” (Psalm 107:31-32 NASB).
“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:1-3 NASB).
6) God’s glory reflected to the world is at stake.
“Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done” (Psalm 105:1 NIV).
“‘For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 1:11 NASB).
7) Satan hates the worship of God (for all those reasons) and whispers lies constantly in an attempt to stop us!
[e.g., “God doesn’t need it.” “It’s not important.” “It’s too hard.” “Mouthing the words is enough.” “This deserves your time and attention more.”]
“Again, the devil took Him [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.”’” (Matthew 4:8-10 NASB).
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan!’” (Zechariah 3:1-2 NASB).
Whether it’s the product of a cold heart or just pure biblical ignorance on the topic of worship, do you see why God wants us to fight worship apathy? Fight for His glory?
When my own eyes were opened to more of what the Bible taught about worship – opened to my own ignorance and apathy – it was life-changing. My immediate compulsion was to help anyone else who was like me – who knew and loved God but just didn’t completely grasp the importance of the worship aspect of my walk with Him. And my book, Worship and the Word, was born.
So I invite you to fight this battle with me – join me on this journey of seeking to better understand and engage in true biblical worship of our holy, worthy God. Better yet, invite others to dig into the Word with you!
However you do it – just do it. Don’t wait. Dig into God’s word. Investigate the hows, whens, and whys of worshipers in the Bible. Ask God to open your eyes to the greater depths of who He is. And pray the truths from His Word permeate your heart and mind and change you forever for His glory. That’s a prayer He’d love to answer “YES” to!
I love Kim Walker Smith’s new song, Throne Room. The words express what the heart of our worship should be about.
Take a few minutes to listen to – worship with – this powerful song, Throne Room.
“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God” (Psalm 43:3-4 NASB)!
[NOTE: I recently talked my publisher into dropping the price of Worship and the Word by quite a bit. They weren’t crazy about the idea, but then they don’t share my deeper passion for helping people dig into the Bible to see what it has to teach us about worship. I just wanted to make it more accessible for everyone. So if you haven’t checked out Worship and the Word lately, now’s the perfect time! Go here to learn more!]
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How to Avoid Settling for Less in Your Worship Life!
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How vital is the Bible to my worship life really?
Why True Worship Requires Your Surrendered Heart
5 ways you can influence the worship life of your church – even if you’re not a musician!
What If Worship Is Just A Big Struggle?
The Unswerving Call to be a Worshiping Church – 8 Insights from Psalm 95
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