A group of Korean young people, with their pastor, recently visited the New Forest where I live with the prime purpose of praying for renewal, or revival, for the churches in the area, and to have input into services. During the service I attended they sang a very simple but moving song with repeated lyrics, ‘We worship You for who You are’.
Someone made the comment that this is a very difficult thing to do, as, before we realise it, we move from worship to thanking God for what He’s done for us, or asking Him for things we need or want, even making ourselves the centre of worship. Of course, misdirected worship is idolatry. If I’m thinking or acting as if God is there solely for me, to meet my needs and make me feel good, however many times I sing the song it is not biblical worship.
One local church prominently displays a banner which consists of many biblical words, each word speaking of who God is – His nature and His character - which is very enriching. Yet, knowing what the Bible says about God doesn’t necessarily make us true worshippers, because worship is heart knowledge rather than head knowledge. It’s the language of love – my love for God springing from the experience of His love for me draws my heart to worship. One-way love is never intimate love.
When I became a Christian in my teens, I had it drummed into me that I was saved to serve. It didn’t take me long to become absorbed in serving in the local church. However, I’ve since learned that we’re not saved to serve, we’re saved to worship; service is a dimension of worship – a life bent on obedience and submission. Worship isn’t just about having a time of worship – singing together in church – it’s the language of love poured out in words and actions, from lives fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. True worship is a sign that we are truly saved, and that we know something in our inner being of who God is.
Jesus told the woman at the well that the Father seeks true worshippers who worship in Spirit and in truth. I was recently in a church service following dynamic preaching of the truth of God’s word, and the Holy Spirit seemed to fall upon the people leading them into passionate and liberated worship to God for who He is. We can’t separate the Word of God from the Spirit of God – the Father desires us to be people with knowledge of the truth of Scripture and people in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit.
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt for a long time – well over 200 years. Following each of the plagues God said to Pharaoh, ‘Let My people go so that they may worship Me’. Worship of God Himself was the prime reason He freed His people from the slavery of Egypt. The freedom that Jesus purchased for us on the cross includes freedom from the slavery of sinful habits which hold us in bondage, and prohibit the true worship in Spirit and in truth which the Father seeks.
Spontaneous faith and obedience in daily life are the fruits of true worship. Worship now is preparing us for eternity, when we’ll stand with the angels, and all the redeemed, and worship the Lamb who was slain. ‘We will meet Him in the air and then we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is’. What a day of rejoicing that will be.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for a deeper revelation of who You really are, for a deeper passion for Jesus and a deeper hunger for the Holy Spirit to fill my life. You alone are worthy to be worshipped. Please show me more clearly what it means to worship in Spirit and in truth, so that every day, in good times and hard times, my whole life will be an act of worship which is pleasing and honouring to You. Amen.
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