Christian worship…these days many may be confused about what it is and its purpose. The Bible says that we are to worship in “spirit and in truth”, and in Philippians 3:3 we are exhorted “...Worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh”.
Christian worship is enriched by the Word and the Spirit. Our worship is based on the Word. of God which is inspired by the Holy Spirit. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to prompt our minds and quicken our emotions to praise and glorify the Father and the Son. We do not rely on “fleshly feelings.”
Contrary to what many think, worship doesn’t just occur on Sunday in the midst of a crowd of other Christians standing, hands raised, eyes closed, singing and swaying to music played by near-professional musicians and by a group of “praise and worship” singers.
In some churches you even have dancers, gracefully bowing and spinning, often while waving flags or scarves. While that is called worship, real Christian worship starts with the individual.
While the term “Christian worship” sounds plural, indicating that all “Christians” worship, and they probably do. However, your Christian brother or sister cannot worship God for you. Worship happens on the inside and is part of our vital communication with God, and someone else cannot communicate with God on your behalf in order for you to build your relationship with God. You must worship God yourself.
To really worship God, you have to get alone in your head with God. You’ve heard about “entering into your prayer closet”. Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean going to your walk-in closet, pushing aside the shoes and clothes to make room for you to worship God. You can be in a crowd and yet inside, in your “spirit” you can be worshiping God.
Contrary to what some portray, Christian worship is not lying on the floor, emptying your mind and “soaking” in God’s presence. This is NOT how the Bible describes worship.
In Matt 22:37 we are told to Love the Lord with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind.
The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace and pleases God. The sinful mind is hostile towards God – Romans 8: 5-8.
In 1 Chronicles 28 :9 we read that God desires that we serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.
Before you think that I’m talking about just worshiping God with your head, when the Bible clearly says we are to worship in “spirit and in truth”, look at this: Eph 4:23 "and be renewed in the spirit of your mind" or in other translations it says to "be made new in the attitude of your minds."
So, worship involves mental alertness, two-way communication, and a focus on God. In fact, this mental activity makes Christian worship different from some other religions where the adherents are taught to empty their minds to enter some altered state.
Jesus said, “...I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6
So truth is not some abstract concept, Truth is Jesus, and when the Word says we are to worship Him in “spirit and in truth”, that means that in order to worship God, to come before Him, we have to know Jesus. To know Him we must have acknowledged Him as our Savior and repented (turned away from) our sin.
We also see that repentance is necessary before we can truly worship: 1Sam 15:25 “Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.”
Sin comes between us and the Father, it blocks the lines of communication, and prevents worship.
In fact, if you’ve ever tried to worship or pray and felt like your words were hitting a brass ceiling, then you’ve experienced the blockage that can come from sin. Of course, sin in our lives is not always what interferes with worship.
However, it can be, and if the only time we get involved in Christian worship occurs in church, with everybody else singing, praising and performing other acts of worship, then we might not realize that we are not really connecting with the Lord, but have instead gotten caught up in the emotion of the moment.
We cannot live like the Devil during the week, and then come to church and dance and sing and wave our hands and call that worship. Because, if we are not living for the Lord, in our daily lives shunning sin and seeking His righteousness, then we can’t say we love and worship Him.
Jesus answered and said to him, "If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me." John 14:23-24
So Christian worship starts with repentance, a turning away from sin, loving Jesus, keeping His Word and keeping our mind on Him. When we build our foundation in Christ we are erecting a house of worship.
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