"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. (1 Chronicles 16:29) God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) KJV. In a brief recap of the previous discussion, it will be noted that we looked at what it means to 'worship God in spirit and in truth.' We also looked at the importance of it from other writer's perspective including the 'Vine's Expository Dictionary.' We have even looked at it in the Greek form as 'proskuneo' [from pros, 'towards' and kuneo 'to kiss.'] and also examined the Hebrew form of worship to be 'shachah,' pronounced as sha-kha. "Worship," was then summarized as follows: 'Reverencing God, adoring Him, honouring and bowing down prostrate before Him. It is to have extreme devotion, an intense love and adoration reserved for Him alone. It is more a thing of the heart and mind than physical action. But much deeper than that, our obedience to God is considered to be the highest form of worship that we give to Him.'
For today's discussion captioned under title heading as "The Journey To Your Restoration - The Fulfilment Is In Your Worship" Part 2, I will now look a little more in detail into this vitally important subject of "worship," while at the same time offer a practical approach of how we can move forward into the future worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
Practicality of Worship
A good way to start is to understand that worship to God or worshipping God is a requirement. It is very simple to bow down to Him once we understand what it means, but difficult if one has not yet totally surrendered his/her will over to God. The Apostle Paul understood it quite well and offered his perspective in this way, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him." (Colossians 1:16)
He took it a step further for those who might want to consider the thought of 'why must I worship someone I've never seen' and he chronicled it in this way, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;" It is clear what the Apostle Paul is saying in this text, that Jesus is so great, so high and lofty He is, that eventually everyone born or created (visible and the invisible) will bend their knees, and will bow down before His throne in reverent homage before the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
The very basic concept of the foregoing scriptures allows us to see that God must be worshipped, because He demands it or rather He commands us to do so. God clearly knew from the outset that it is possible for His people to worship others and things besides Himself. It took place in the beginning in the garden of Eden when Satan cohearsed Eve, and subsequently Adam, to worship him through their dis-obedience to God the Father. That resulted in the fall of man. It was also a blatant attempt by Satan to get Christ to worship him, (a being besides the true God) when Christ bluntly rejected him with the word of God saying, 'Him only you shall serve,' thus putting an end to Satan's annoyance that he too (Satan) will bow his knees and worship and serve the true living God.
Through these scriptural truths, it is evident that the very next principle is that God deserves our worship. Jesus our greatest example of how we are to walk worthy of the vocation, knew this and by acknowledging God the Father in everything that He did, and not doing anything without the Father (John 5:19-20) gave reverence, homage and great love and respect for His Father. It was His worship to God being expressed and demonstrated through His obedience. Paul confirms this very principle in 1 Corinthians 4:16 "Be followers of me."
The third practical principle is, we need to worship Him [God] and it emanates from the previous principle of being imitators of what we see done by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is given by this simple persuasion that if we do not give our worship to God, our natural human tendency is to give it elsewhere and to someone else other than the true God. And anyone who is drawn away to giving worship to any other and expect to build a solid life is only treading on dangerous grounds of idolatry and idolatrous practices [rejects God as Ruler and stands at the base of every sin], breaking not only one, but all of God's commands. Eventually, one becomes what he/she worships.
How Can I Worship God In Ways Acceptable To Him?
This segment will provide for us a starting point for some and for others it may be viewed as an improvement to what was done before. But either way, the best way to start is to embrace 'worship in spirit and in truth' as a lifestyle as opposed to some religious exercise that we partake of whether just on Sundays at church service, or bible study or prayer meetings on weekdays. In the final analysis, each individual must develop his/her unique style, personal between you and God. These are just a few suggestions.
- Repent - The first solution to any problem is to acknowledge that there is one, then accept personal responsibility asking God to reveal any areas in our life where the worship we had given before to Him did not measure up to His standard. Perhaps you may be a part of a larger Christian community that have failed in the past to incorporate laments for justice (Isaiah 58:1-8; Joel 1:5-8; 13-14) into corporate worship. Then it is time to turn away from the world's patterns and thinking, that we be not conformed any more by those things, but that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds to prove what is the acceptable and perfect will of God for our lives. (Romans 12:2) As we begin to identify and proclaim the laments, and our paradigms shift to truly see that our brothers cry is our cry, that their pain is our pain, then and only then we would begin to see God move in the earth in unimaginable ways.
- Regain focus - I believe that because God is merciful and would not entirely suffer us to perish, many have been drawn to complacency to seek a God they 'want' instead of worshipping God for who He is. Then there are others who fashion a god in their mind who blesses without obligation, who lets us feel his presence without living and measuring up to his lifestyle, and who say things such as He is merciful and loving so he would stand with us and not against us and, He sends both rain and sunshine upon the just and the unjust so he gives us what we want when we want it. The reality is, He is not that kind of God, so let us regain our focus where it may have been lost.
- Reconnect to our first love - We can become so busy with everything else in life and loose our spiritual connection and our love, not only for those we see each day but more so with God our Heavenly Father. "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil.....Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." (Revelation 2: 2-4) The writer of the gospel of Matthew penned it in this way, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6: 21 NIV ) Let us reconnect spiritually and cohesively in His love.
- Realign and remember our first priority - Realign with God's word and remember at all times who God is, that He alone is holy and worthy and that we are called to serve each day. With the realization also that justice and worship at their core each deal with power and the abuse of it, we must begin to emphasize more God's Kingship, His rule over all creation, His undeniable and spotless character, so that we create the medium by which the Most High God can address the fallen powers in our church, states, nation and the world at large around us. The Bible says no one can serve two masters. We must be willing therefore at whatever cost to point man in his fallen state back to God.
- Worship through prayer - Our prayer life ought to be more about God and less and less of us. It must begin with Him! It is the very core of the model prayer that Jesus gave first to His disciples and then to us. "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.." (Matthew 6:9-13). Prayer gives us the opportunity to get to know God better and in a more intimate and personal way. It ought not to be only about a list of 'I want' before God. Again the length of time that one spends in prayer is a personal thing between him/her and God.
- Get in a regular habit of reading the Bible - The Bible is the Word and the Word is God! The only way of getting to know Him, to be in a wonderful, sweet, loving relationship with Him and to worship Him as He is, is to read the Word everyday. How can we expect to worship Him the way that He truly deserves without a clear understanding of who He is?
- Share your faith not your religion - The only way some persons will ever know God is by how much of God they see that we have in us. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) God wants every person on the planet to worship Him, not because He is an 'egotistic maniac' who needs our praise, but worship is how we have all been designed by God to give freely to Him!
In summary, I suggest we build an attitude of thankfulness to God. It is one of our reasonable services to Him. Thank Him for who He is, for what He has done for us. Thank Him for what we already have as every good and perfect gift comes from God. Not that we are deserving of any of the the things we have or the favour that He has shown to us but because of the sacrifice that He made for us through His Son Jesus Christ. Once we begin to look more through the lens of thankfulness, we see our lives and everything in it from God's perspective.
Another "Empowerment Moment" has ended and it is my prayer that you have been blessed indeed by the word of the Lord.