Spiritual Disciplines 3- Worship
We’ve been looking lately at some of the Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian life, some of the ways “we can place ourselves in the path of God’s grace and seek Him much as Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus placed themselves in Jesus’ path and sought Him.”
Like prayer and Bible study, worship is of the utmost importance in the life of the believer. Indeed we can even say that God is seeking worshippers:
”Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”John 4:22–24
What is Worship?
Worship is honouring that which we believe is of most worth, we might think of it as wor(th)ship. John Piper says:
“Worship is a way of gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of His worth.”
Our glad and grateful response to God, to who he is and to what he has done, is worship.
Using this broad definition then, we might say that all we do as Christians, should be worship. All of the deeds we do and the words we speak should affirm the worth of our God.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”Romans 12:1
That is not to say that we need not meet for mutual edification or that private devotions are unimportant. These times set apart to worship God personally and communally are essential if we are to know spiritual growth.
How are we to Worship?
Jesus tells us that the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship ‘in spirit,’ that is to say internally as opposed to just practicing some external rituals. Our hearts are to be engaged in celebrating the glory and the goodness of God.
Richard Foster says:
Worship “is kindled within us only when the Spirit of God touches our human spirit. Forms and rituals do not produce worship, not does the disuse of forms and rituals… The words of the chorus, ‘set my spirit free that I may worship Thee,’ reveal the basis of worship. Until God touches and frees our spirit we cannot enter into this realm. Singing, praying, praising all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them. Our spirit must be ignited by the divine fire.”
We must also worship ‘in truth’. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13), Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Truth goes to the very heart of who God is. (As opposed to the Devil- ‘the Father of Lies’ (John 8:44). We are not permitted to make our own truth. God has revealed who he is, what he has done and what he will do in Scripture. We do not get to pick and choose which parts are true dependant on what we would like to be true. Sometimes we must accept the truth as truth before we come to see its beauty and goodness.
Our worship should be a matter of the heart, but it must also be tethered to the truth.
We all have a deep desire to be wanted. Isn’t it amazing to think that we can be what the Father wants, as we learn to worship him in spirit and in truth? And as we become those worshippers, we will grow in Christlikeness and experience the joy we were made to know:
“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.”Psalm 89:15