"Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; Holy is He." (Psalm 99:5)
What is worship? Is it an action or is it an attitude? Is worship singing spiritual songs and praising God? Could we possibly be distracted from the sense of deity by worshipping the form of it? How can we identify the true form of worship? These are not easy questions.
A dictionary defines worship as, "the adoration, homage, or veneration given to a deity or to something regarded as sacred." How do we achieve adoration?
Natural religion reaches its peak in the ritual and beauty of aesthetic worship. It makes us feel good. But Jesus told us to worship in spirit and in truth, not in the ritual of men. If God is God, and we are His people, how can we be certain we fulfill His command to worship Him?
To be sincere, we must first set aside our emotions. Worship begins with a decision, an acceptance that God is indeed God, Creator of the universe and Redeemer of mankind.
Worship begins within. It originates in what the Bible calls the heart, the innermost part of man. The emotion must follow the decision, and it will, because our decision places us in the presence of God. It is impossible to be in His presence without feeling the overwhelming emotion of it.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. (Psalm 100:4)
Thanksgiving takes us through His gates. We walk into His courts with praise, but it is worship that takes us into the holy of holies, where we enter into His presence. The words used to express worship in Hebrew and Greek, both mean to prostrate oneself in reverence. We can't do this honestly unless we recognize and accept the formidable potency of God.
Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." (Isaiah 6:5)
Isaiah recognized the tremendous gap between man and God. In Revelation 6:12-17, we are asked, "...who is able to stand?" The presence of God is so powerful that no human being can be in His presence and remain on his feet. This is the God we are called to worship.
When we accept the revelation of the awesomeness of God, we reach the end of what we can do alone. We become empty, eager to be filled with His will, along with His power to perform it. At this point God enables us to see ourselves in an honest light, but without being devastated by the honesty.
He lets us see that:
OUR personal strength is all bluff;
OUR joy is fragile and mostly superficial;
OUR peace is temporary;
OUR patience is nonexistent;
OUR kindness is often for personal recognition;
OUR sacrifices are often expressions of martyrdom;
OUR faith is feigned;
OUR hope is selfish;
OUR love is susceptible to lust.
Without His grace we couldn't stand such revelation. But with His grace, it is a relief to see the reality, and to know there is a solution.
Like the four creatures in Revelation 4:8, we can only cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy is THE LORD GOD!" That kind of worship generates commitment. At this stage, our prayers reach beyond temporal things, touch the whole spiritual order and set in motion the powers of heaven. As we pray, God gives us hope, expectation, and a vision of the fulfillment of the purpose of our prayer.
We no longer have to force ourselves to be humble; to make our words and our mannerisms humble. Humility of that kind is exhausting, for ourselves as well as for our onlookers. It is difficult to fall down from the throne of pride, but when the light of the Lord shines, we instantly fall flat. His light levels us.
Then we begin to give to God. Individually, each of us brings to His altar the most precious gift He has given us, our very life. We lay it at His feet for Him to sanctify. We refuse to leave Him until we can be identified with Him. We use the power of His Spirit to worship Him, because we understand our impotency.
We are His, mind, body and spirit. Compromise is no longer in our vocabulary; commitment is everything. We are His children, and He is our God. We have learned to worship!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Do I really worship God?