Worship is the highest experience you can have. But gaining the full benefit from our worship is sometimes hindered by our misunderstanding of what worship really is and Who it is for. For man, attending church is no different than going to a weekly social club. They view it as just a gathering place where people can come and chat with one another and discuss the events of the week, sing a few praise songs, listen to a sermon and then go home. Yes, we certainly do enjoy meeting with our friends each week, but we are also there for a much higher, much deeper purpose. We are there to worship the God of the universe. If we have somehow changed the reasons for why we attend church, then it is likely that it will no longer meet our expectations.
Worship is not about us; it is about God. God initiates our worship. He created us that we might praise and glorify Him, thus He must be the object of our worship. Worship is closely linked to God’s creative power. Because God is our Creator, He deserves our worship.
The worship experience carries with it certain prerequisites. First, there must be an established relationship with the One you are worshiping. Destroy any idols that may hinder this. In our society our idols may not necessarily be made of wood or stone or gold. Sometimes the idol of self is the greatest idol that stands in the way of true worship. Learn to be humble and submissive as you approach worship.
Some find it challenging to worship a God they cannot see. To come before the Lord in the true sense of worship we must first have faith that He exists, and that He “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). There are other attributes of God that must be considered as well, including the fact that He is holy, His name is holy, that He must be worshiped in the spirit and beauty of holiness. “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 Chron. 16:29, Psalms 99:3).
The worship experience is a holistic response to the Creator, meaning that it involves all aspects of our being. We worship God with our entire being, the intellectual, the emotional, the physical as well as the spiritual. Intellectual worship involves the mind, our ability to remember, learn, and study His word. The emotional aspect of worship includes happiness, trust, love, joy or sadness. Feelings of sadness or grief can hinder our experience. We do not always come to church with joyful hearts but we all enter the worship experience with some type of emotion. The physical aspect of worship can include such things as singing, making a joyful noise, raising uplifted hands, shouting, etc. The spiritual part of worship can include praying, periods of silence and meditation, and sensing the presence of His holiness. All are important components of
As we worship God we find that during our service we will both tremble and rejoice. We tremble before the Lord, not because we are afraid Him, but because we respect Him. It is a reverential fear, such as the Psalmist described: “Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. (Ps.33:8). Additionally, we should have a sense of the presence, purity and holiness of God during our worship service. As we draw close to Him in worship we will begin to contrast the matchless perfection of our Creator to our own imperfections and inefficiencies. This humbles us.
Rejoicing, another key part of the worship experience, should be demonstrated in all worship services. We are told in the writings of the apostle Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”(Phil. 4:4). “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (Psalms 32:11).
As you consider these things,it is hoped that you see how important it is to worship. Here are some suggestions which will help you bring these ideas into a very practical experience:
1. Attend church regularly. This might seem obvious, but it stands to reason that if you do not attend church you will not receive the blessings that the Lord has there for you. Worship is both public and private and certainly your daily private worship is essential. However, the Bible encourages us to assemble ourselves together, to come together and honor the Lord in unity, to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, to give praise and to pray with one another (Eph. 5:19, Col.3:16).
2. Participate in the service. It is unfortunate, but many churchgoers are pew warmers. They come and sit but do little else. There is little, if anything, you can get out of the worship service if you don’t put something into it. Most services allow time for singing, giving testimonies, praying, studying in Bible class, and much more. These are prime opportunities for you to participate. As you give, you will receive in return.
3. Don’t expect there to be only one way worship. A church can have services for both the young and old and sometimes the worship style may vary depending on the needs of the church. It is not uncommon to see both traditional and contemporary styles of worship in the same church. The important thing to remember is that God wants us to worship Him from the heart and that worship is about Him, not about us.
4. Invite others to your church. One of the best things you can do to stimulate your own attitude about worship is to invite others to share in the worship experience with you. This allows you to share your beliefs with them. As they come they will learn of God understand for themselves the importance of worship.
5. Don’t come to church expecting to be entertained. You must approach worship determined to meet with the Lord and to fellowship with others. Expect, therefore, to be blessed, not entertained. Leave entertainment for the theatre or the sports arena.
Worship is indeed an important experience that should change us. If it does not, then we have not truly worshiped. If you are not involved in this weekly experience, then you are truly missing a blessing.