What is ‘WORSHIP’?
Pt. 1: “How Will You Respond”?
There is a movement of praise expression (I will write about this later in the next article), based upon the Hebrew words for our English word “praise”, found all throughout the Old Testament.
Take for instance, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
Psalm 63:2-5 NIV
I love this, because it inspires us to engage with God on a mental level, Soul/Spirit level, as well as Physical level! In the church we are seeing more and more freedom to express this type of praise expression (lift hands, sing; ‘praise’ in this passage means ‘to kneel’ — ‘barak’), and more freedom in our communities and Kingdom culture means more room for the Holy Spirit to work!
However, does it just end there? Many believers are satisfied with just a couple songs on a Sunday morning, and then head out to lunch — and although they engaged in “Praise”, is that truly “Worship”? For me, I believe it is just the beginning, and also evidence by a life already engaged in Worship unto God.
To me, worship isn’t just a song, or an act; or even just a ‘lifestyle’ choice — although all the above are aspects of worship.
Biblically, worship is:
——— THE POSITION I TAKE ———-
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (KJV)
My position, if I want to enter in the Kingdom Of Heaven is first and foremost a stance of HUMILITY. It is SERVICE — ‘God, how can You use me? ‘
“Tapeinoo” (Greek) — “Humble”
to make low, bring low, to level, reduce to a plain
metaph. to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meager circumstances
to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded
to humble or abase myself by humble living
of one’s soul bring down one’s pride
to have a modest opinion of one’s self
devoid of all haughtiness
The word worship, in the New Testament is most commonly translated to the Greek word, “Proskuneo” —
- PROSKUNEO (Greek):
- to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
- among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
- in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
- used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank
- Ultimately, how we Worship is evident by our response to the presence of God
For you, is it a humble response? Or do you go through life feeling ‘entitled’ for something? I’m afraid God doesn’t owe us anything at all, although He gave us everything.
My ideal position in God’s presence is to: DISPLAY HIS WORTH – and NOT MY OWN
- Expressions of Praise are merely a result of a life lived in worship, like a blossom on the branch of a tree
- MY LIFE (all Mind/Soul/Body) IS DESIGNED TO REVEAL MY POSITION IN CHRIST —
- I was created with the capacity to reveal the nature of Jesus in all of me – which is HIS GOODNESS AND WORTH and not my own
- My heart was created with a deep longing to respond to the nearness of God
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
Hebrews 10:22 NIV
Because of the position Christ took for us, being lowered and offering His life, my soul cannot help but express the worth of that gift by giving my life to Him.
Godly Worship is an AWAKENING TO MY POSITION OF GOD-CENTERED LIFE
I cannot exalt myself, and expect to call that ‘worship’. Nor can I engage simply one part of my life — eg., lift hands in an act of praise — and expect that is enough worship. Many times I find myself being the focus throughout the week. The world says: ‘exalt yourself’, ‘treat yourself’, ‘YOU deserve it’…..and a lot of times I engage in that, without realizing it.
In today’s world, we have a problem of “self-exaltation” more than ever. Most people don’t see that as a problem. In fact, through much of life self-promotion is highly recommended and encouraged. But for the believer, if I cover the earth with my self, then it veils the Goodness of God (the Gospel), for those who are perishing.
1 Corinthians 1:18 — “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The cross represents how God laid His own life down. It also represents how we lay our own selves down, in order to follow Christ.
Matthew 16:24 — “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me…'”
So in choosing to serve Christ, the more emphasis we put on our own desires and our own ways, and choose ourselves, the less the world can see Christ in us. Jesus bids us come and die to self, in order that we may truly live! Because a life spent in worship to ourselves, ends up in meaningless pursuit. God, I choose to surrender and declare, “I am Yours”!
Let us pursue His presence in all that we do and are!!