The Spiritual Discipline of Worship

We were made for worship. Our purpose is His glory. We are to see His glory, savor it, and reflect it. The seeing part should be easy. The Bible tells us that the entire universe declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 6:3; Romans 1:20-21). Yet with dull vision and a hurried pace, we often miss it. And if we don’t see it, how are we to savor it and reflect it?

Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:6b-7

This passage from Isaiah 43 confirms that we were created for God’s glory. Look closely at the verbs — created, formed, made. These are creation account words.

Our deepest longing – to know and enjoy the glory of God – was fixed into our soul at the time of Creation.

Interestingly, while the Bible speaks much about worship, nowhere in Scripture do we find an actual definition.

Thankfully, several very helpful definitions have been crafted based on what we learn about worship in the Bible. Here are just a couple:

“Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are –mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does.”

Warren Wiersbe

“Obedient action motivated by the beauty of who God is in himself.”

Tim Keller

“Christian worship is the response of God’s redeemed people to His self-revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ in our minds, affections, and wills, in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Bob Kauflin

“The inner essence of worship is to know God truly and then respond from the heart to that knowledge by valuing God, treasuring God, prizing God, enjoying God, being satisfied with God above all earthly things.
And then that deep, restful, joyful satisfaction in God overflows in demonstrable acts of praise from the lips and demonstrable acts of love in serving others for the sake of Christ.” 

John Piper

Let me encourage you to go back and read through the selected definitions once again. This time look for the thread that weaves it way through each one.

Did you find it? No matter how worship is defined, for the Christian, it is a response, an action. One that isn’t limited to singing or attending church on Sunday morning.

Previously, we determined that our approach to identifying a Spiritual Discipline would be to test it against Scripture. Is the discipline taught and modeled in the Bible? The answer must be a clear yes, for us to accept it and go hard after it in pursuit of our spiritual transformation.

Let’s begin our search in the Old Testament where we don’t have to look far or hard. In the very first pages of the book of Genesis we read the account of the first act of worship recorded in human history. Then, a few books over in Leviticus, we discover all the abundant detail for the pattern of acceptable worship set forth by God. And the Psalms are full of expressions of poignant longing for God. Truly, the Old Testament is replete with the teaching and modeling of worship.

Exodus 34:8And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.

Deuteronomy 12:3-4You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way.

Psalm 95:6Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Similarly, worship is taught and modeled throughout the New Testament. Here, however, worship is transformed by the work of Christ. Jesus’ incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension now make it possible for us to engage directly with God.

John 4:23-24 –  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

Romans 12:1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Hebrews 12:28-29Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Luke 4:5-8 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours,” And Jesus answered him, “It is written ‘You shall worship the Lord you God, and him only shall you serve.’”

Revelation 4:9-11And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throve and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Clearly by just this very brief sampling of passages from the Bible, we see that worship is both taught and modeled in Scripture.

The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism reads, “What is the chief end of man?” To which the answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Worship is the central purpose of our lives.

Our worship of God is both an end and a means.  Worship is an end because worship is for God’s glory. It engages us with God on the terms He proposes and in the way that He alone makes possible.  Simultaneously, worship is a means. It is a means to godliness. As we worship God, we grow in likeness to the image of Christ because we become more and more like the One we worship.

Just for Praise & Worship Ten-week Online Group

Just for Praise and Worship is a 10-week “journey” in growing in response to God. The group will meet via a private Facebook group and spend ten weeks working through the accompanying booklet which is included.

The cost for the group is $10.00. This includes membership and the booklet.

To learn more or sign up, click HERE

Be sure to sign up soon. We begin on Monday, March 4, 2024.