Worship re:defined

[note color="#f5f5f5"]This is a guest post by Ben Woodward. He is a writer and worship leader. He focuses on giving Jesus all through our worship and abiding in His Word. You can follow Ben on Twitter and Facebook.[/note]

What is worship?

Is it a service we attend? Is it a song that we sing? Is it lifting our hands or closing our eyes? How do you define the act of worship?

The first time worship is used in scripture is when Abraham is going up to the mountain with his son to sacrifice. The Old Testament often equated worship with sacrifice. Obviously we don’t sacrifice animals in our modern worship expressions, but it does make you think, have we lost the true meaning of worship?

King David was a master musician and was able to worship using song and dance and musical instruments. That seems to be more like our modern expressions of worship, but is that the only way to worship?

Jesus actually gave us a description of worship in John 4:23, but He described it in a way that is hard to define. He said true worshippers worship in spirit and in truth.

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” John 4.23

What does that even mean?

What does it mean to worship in spirit? What does it mean to worship in truth?

Without getting to deeply in to the meaning of this verse, I think Jesus was trying to help the woman He was speaking to understand that worship has little to do with the external expression and everything to do with the internal response.

The Anglo-Saxon root for the word worship means to give worth to something (worth-ship). So, worship is more about responding to the worthiness of Jesus than actually performing a ceremony, singing a song, lifting our hands.

I actually think a good description of worship is found in Colossians chapter 3.

Colossians 3.23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”

Whatever you do, that is worship if it a response to the worthiness of Jesus.

If it’s singing a song, then its worship because its unto the worthy King.

If it’s riding a bike, taking care of your kids, respecting your husband, loving your wife, working a 9-5 then it’s worship if it’s unto and in response to Jesus as the worthy King.

You can ride a bike and it not be worship as much as you can sing a “worship” song and it not be worship.

Worship has little to do with the outward manifestation, but everything to do with the heartfelt response.

In our western churches we have become addicted to the song. If we are not careful, we will create an idol around our worship services, our worship songs and our rock star worship leaders. When I lead worship, I like to tell people this,

“Don’t give me a room full of people who lift their hands to heaven on Sunday and then live completely opposite on Monday. Give me a few who live their lives in response to Jesus every moment of every day, and I will show you those who are the answer to Jesus declaration in John 4 about worship.”

True worship is a life lived in response to the worthy King.

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17 Comments

  1. LOVE this! It reminds me of Nina Landis’ teaching last year on Worship in Spirit and Truth @ Convergence House of Prayer. I will share this post! thanks!

    1. Hi Jeff. It’s been such a long time. Hope all is well with you! Glad you jumped in and commented. This post is definitely worthy of sharing with your worship leader. :)

  2. It all goes right back to Col 3:23 as you stated. Worship is raw force that should break out of us in everything we do. It’s more than the song, it’s the Spirit Himself as He wraps Himself around us, through us. Something more permeating than the air we breath, that bleeds out from us into everything we do. Its not something we can master, not on our own, but it is something to seek, pursue and yield continually to.

  3. I’m so glad Jeff Fassett shared this with me. I am the worship leader at our church and I feel like we are “stuck” and need to re-learn how to worship. I will be sharing a little from this blog with the congregation on Sunday. My favorite part…”You can ride a bike and it not be worship as much as you can sing a “worship” song and it not be worship.”

    1. Hi Heather. I took a moment and prayed for you guys. I love that you are wanting more for your church! I have discovered that we get what we teach. Teaching involves both words and lifestyle (ie the life of Jesus is a perfect example) It might take time but I believe the breakthrough you are seeking is coming!

  4. Great post on worship. I agree that worship is the attitude of the heart and one can worship God 24/7.

    Barbie had an awesome clip posted on Facebook this morning. Thousands in Egypt shouting Yashua for 10 consecutive minutes. Now that is amazing, heat felt worship.

    Blessings,
    <

  5. Thanks everyone! Sorry I have been slow on the responses, I am currently in Norway trying to live what I preach!! Thanks for the encouragement and thanks for be willing to express worship in all of your life!

  6. Worship, I grew up worshiping the Lord our God. I only use this word to describe my feelings to our God. Spreading the word of God is a great deed, please keep it up.

  7. Good Post. However I might add that when we worhip God we recognize His greatness, love and compassion. We recognize and thank him for all that He has done for us.

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