Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why We Worship - written by me in 2002


Worship should be a total lifestyle, not just a time when we get together with the body of Christ and sing songs to God, dance and clap our hands.  It should be something that we do every minute of every day, and I would now like to share with you some of what the Lord has been revealing to me about why we worship.

Firstly, we were created to know, love and worship God.  God made us the way we are for that very purpose.  Why else would He have given us a voice?  He certainly wouldn't have done it just so He could listen to us fight and squabble.  It was simply so that we could praise and worship Him.  He desires us to worship Him and Him alone.  He actively seeks true worshippers; people who will spend their lives worshipping Him and only Him.  In John 4:23 it says "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him".  Also, in Psalms 22:27  it says "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee".  This is repeated again in Psalms 66:4.  It says "All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing [to] thy name".  

We were chosen by Him as a royal priesthood to praise and worship Him.  I Peter 2:9 says "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light".
Worship can be, and should be, incorporated into every aspect of our lives.  Everything, absolutely EVERYTHING we do can be an act of worship; from weeding the garden to lifting our voices in praise and worship during a church meeting, and from tucking our children in at night to cooking a meal for our family.  The true basis of worship is the giving of ourselves, completely and utterly, to God.

While weeding the garden, have you ever just sat back and admired God's creation.  Every flower and tree was created by God, and the diversity and wonder of everything He made is a continual source of amazement to me.  I can't help but worship God when I see His wonder in something as beautiful as a rose or as magnificent as an oak tree.  It creates a feeling of awe and wonder in me that gives me goose-bumps.

When tucking your children into bed at night, have you ever given thanks to God for the sheer blessing of their presence in your life and the joy they have brought to your life?  They are a gift from God, wonderfully created and presented to us because of His love for us.  

Even while preparing a meal for your family you can worship the Lord.  You can praise and thank Him for His provision; that He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.  You can praise and thank Him for giving you such a beautiful family, and for just being alive to enjoy His provision.

Have you ever thought that every time we share what the Lord Jesus did for us it is an act of worship?  As we tell others of the glory of God and how much He loves us, even to the extent of sending His only Son to die on the cross just for us, we are performing an act of worship.

 God has called us to worship Him and Him alone.  In Exodus 34:14 it says "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God".  This is repeated in Psalms 81:9.  It says "There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god."   It is a call to every person who has ever lived, who is living today and who is yet to be born.  We worship God, not because of what He has done for us, but because of who He is.  No man has ever been, or will ever be, worthy of our worship.  God is the only one who is worthy of worship, and He loved us long before we ever even thought about worshipping Him.

In a book called "Worthy of Worship" by Sammy Tippitt, I found this description of worship:
"Thus, true worship does not originate with man.  It originates with God.  Worship is the result of the grace of God being applied to the heart of man; it flows from a heart that has been graced by God.  The theme song for the true worshiper becomes, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found."  I did not search so far and so wide that I found Him.  I did not become so good that I could worship Him.  He found me and graced me.  Freely He forgave me, and freely I worship and love Him.  It is not my style of worship nor my service for Him that makes me a true worshipper.  It is His amazing grace."

"True worship flows like a mighty river from the heart that has received God's grace.  When we behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, we become true worshipers."

Perhaps the most important reason why we worship is because we are commanded to do so.  In I Chronicles 16:29 it says "Give unto the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come before him; worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness."  This is also repeated in Psalm 29:2, which says "Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness" and Psalm 96:9, which says "O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth".  

We are required to give God the glory due His name, and this can only be done when we worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  In Philippians 4:4 it says "Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice."  In Psalms 99:9 it says "Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God [is] holy".  It is not an option!  You are made to worship God and you are commanded to worship Him.

Another aspect of worship which many people don't consider is that, when we worship the Lord in a church service, our worship prepares our hearts to receive the Word of God, and we also worship God as a result of hearing the Lord's Word.  This is mentioned in Colossians 3:15-16, which says "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."  How many times have we been inspired to worship simply through hearing His message for us; or, how many times have we received a revelation whilst listening to a word we have probably heard or read many times before, simply because our hearts have been prepared for the Word by our worship.  As we worship God, the Holy Spirit softens our hearts, and in this atmosphere of love our eyes and ears are opened as never before to the Word of God.

In Colossians 3:15-16, which I have just mentioned, and also in Ephesians 5:18-19, which says "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord", mention is made of three different ways we can worship – with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

"Psalms" refers to singing the actual Word of God.  This can be a very powerful way of worshipping, because it has the same effect as speaking the Word, and we all know how powerful that can be.  When we sing God's word back to Him it blesses His heart, and as an added bonus, it is quite often easier to remember the Word when you learn it in song.  I personally have found this to be true.  I often have difficulty learning Scripture by heart, but once I have learned it in song, I never, ever forget it.

"Hymns" refers to songs of testimony, triumph, exaltation, adoration and celebration.  These are songs that have been given to people by the Lord, or that have been written in response to something the Lord has done in their lives.  These can be a very beautiful and powerful way of telling the Lord how we feel about Him, and also a way to tell others why God plays such an important part in our lives.

"Spiritual songs" are songs the Holy Spirit gives us when we are worshipping in the Spirit.  They are a spontaneous expression of how we feel about God, and can be as simple as just singing "Hallelujah!", or as complex as a complete song the Holy Spirit gives you.  These are three different ways we can worship, and each one has an important part to play in our worship.

The way we worship may differ from person to person, from church to church, from country to country, but WHY and WHO we worship will never change.  When Jesus returns, and we finally come into the throne room of God, we will all worship God with one voice, for He is the only one who is worthy of worship; the one who has never changed and who will never change.  We will join the angels in heaven and spend eternity proclaiming "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.  Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.  Hosanna in the highest!"  In Revelation 19:5-1 it says "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."  I can think of no more wonderful way to spend eternity than in worshipping God in the beauty of holiness.

Worship is also a key to evangelism.  When we worship, it is an inspiration to people who are not yet saved.  When they see us worshipping God with such love and devotion they start to wonder what we know that they don't.  They start to see the power of God in our lives and this can be a way that God uses to bring them to Him.  Through our worship, people can see God's great love for us; His great forgiveness, and thus the fact that we are accepted by Him; His purpose for us, which gives us a sense of belonging and of worth; and His promises to us are revealed, giving us renewed confidence in our future.  As our hearts are opened in response to God's love for us, we are able to reach out to others in love.  People respond to this, because every one of us has a basic need to be loved and accepted.  Thus, when an altar call is given, people's hearts are open to receive the Lord.  So, as you can see, worship truly is a key to opening the door to evangelism.
We also worship God by listening to Him.  By giving ear to His voice we pay Him the honour due to Him.  We should be listening to God every minute of every day - at work, at home, on the bus - anywhere and everywhere.  If we do this, we give Him all the glory and honour, and thus we worship Him.  By taking time to listen for His voice, we show Him that we consider He is worthy of our time, and that His words mean something to us.  Thus, we honour Him and bless Him.

Another thing that is very important, is that we should continue to worship God even when He does not appear to be answering our prayers.  In I Thessalonians 5:16-18 it says "Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  If we can worship God in faith rather than because of what He has done, it shows God that we love Him just because of who He is, instead of what we want Him to do for us.

There is yet another way in which we can worship God.  When we come to the Communion Table we are also worshipping God.  When we partake of communion we are doing it as an act of remembrance of the Lord's death on the cross and His ultimate victory over death with His resurrection.  Surely this is something to celebrate, with thanksgiving, joy and hope.  When sharing communion we are performing an act of worship, proclaiming the great love that God has for us; a love so great that He sent His only Son, Jesus, who willingly gave His life so that we might have eternal life.  Don't forget, without that sacrifice we would not be here today.  So surely that is a good reason to rejoice.

Worship is also a spiritual weapon.  When we worship the Lord, He comes down and sits on His throne in our presence, and where God is Satan has no power.  Also, Satan cannot stand the name of Jesus being exalted, so when we worship the Lord and exalt His name, Satan cringes.  

This is what the Israelites discovered thousands of years ago.  When their dreaded enemies, the men of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir, declared war on Judah, King Jehoshaphat's response was to worship the Lord.  The Lord's reply was reassuring:  "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's.  You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you."  2 Chronicles 20:15, 17

Worship can also be a comfort.  In Isaiah 61:3 it says "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified".  God has promised us a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and I guarantee that, if you start worshipping God, that feeling of heaviness will depart from you.  He will also give you the oil of joy instead of mourning as you look to Him, for as you concentrate on Him, as the words of the song go, "The things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace".

Worship should not be seen just as a chore, something that we do before communion or before the pastor preaches, but as a blessing, a gift to us from God.  Through worshipping God, our hearts are lifted, our souls rejoice and our lives can be transformed as we are filled with joy, love and peace.  We are set free, shown the joy of His redemption, our spirits are renewed and our hearts are restored through the wonder of His love. 

In Romans 12:1-2  Paul called the Romans to present themselves as people of worship.  Why?  God's desire for us is to be happy, to feel loved and to be filled with His peace which passes all understanding.  As we worship Him in Spirit and in truth, He is able to fulfil these desires in us.

If we make worship the centre of our lives, God's glory will be made manifest in our midst.  In this way others will be drawn to Him as they behold His glory.  Worship brings you into a closer relationship with God and when used in the corporate body it can produce a oneness in the Spirit like never before.

Put simply, worship is the act of giving glory to God - completely, utterly and continually.  I urge you to create a total atmosphere of praise and worship everywhere you go.  Speak and sing to God in worship, and the atmosphere of your home or office, or wherever you are, will change. God desires us to worship Him.  God commands us to worship Him.  

I urge you to study your Bibles and discover just how many references to praise and worship there are, and how many different ways there are to worship God.  In my Bible there are 108 references to worship and 248 references to praise, but there are also many other words used to describe worship.  'Thanksgiving", "rejoice", and "give thanks" are only some of them.  If you look, you will find there are countless others.  Check them out, and discover for yourself why we worship and how we should worship.  I guarantee, if you change your lifestyle to one of worship, the whole fabric of your life will change.

We find it very easy to sing, shout, clap our hands and dance when praising the exploits of our local football heroes or our favourite pop idols, so why is it that we feel so inhibited in church,  If anything, we should find it even easier to express our praise and admiration as we worship the only one who is truly worthy of praise and worship. God doesn't care how badly we sing, or how poorly we express ourselves.  We are the only ones who worry about that.  All God cares about is the true state of our hearts.  If we truly love God and truly consider Him to be worthy of all praise and worship, why do so many of us find it so difficult to express it?  Why do so many of us think we have to behave so soberly in church?  Surely we should be excited and full of joy because we are in the presence of our awesome God.  Why do we think we have to use high and mighty words to express the way we feel?  God wants us to come to Him in humility, expressing our feelings simply and from our hearts.  

Why do so many people look so bored when we are in worship?  Surely they should be filled with joy.  Maybe this is something we should really think about.  Maybe we should put away all our preconceived ideas about worship and look into the Bible and see what God has to say on the subject.

There are several things we must remember, though.  Firstly, praise and worship do not heal or defeat the enemy.  GOD DOES!  Secondly, we should not use worship as a way to manipulate God into blessing us.  Our soul aim should be to bless God and live in a vital, personal relationship with Him.  As we do this, praise and worship will become as natural to us as breathing, because it will be the only way to express how we feel towards God.  The most important thing we should remember is that our worship should give glory and pleasure to the One who we worship – GOD.

Now, I would like you to join me in a prayer.  
"Lord, please give us a heart's desire to worship only You.  Change our hearts, O God, and teach us to worship You in Spirit and truth.  Create in us a desire to worship You every minute of every day and in everything we do, whether at work, at home, at play, or in church.  Teach us that, as we worship You and seek Your face, our lives will change and others will see what we have and will want it too, thus opening the door for a chance to witness to Your glory.  May we continue to give You all the glory for everything You are doing in our lives, and may we continue to seek a closer walk with You.  Release in us a freedom to worship You as You would have us do; with a true sense of Your majesty, power and beauty, so that your glory will be revealed and so that You may be blessed.  Thank You, Father, for Your love; thank You for Your grace; and thank You for the work You are doing in our lives every day.  We give You all the glory and praise.  Amen."

© Christine Chipman.  17 March 2002

God bless you, and peace be with you.



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