Another important aspect of one’s walk with God is worship, and it is tied very closely with prayer. How can we define worship? What does it look like? According to Merriam-Webster, worship can be defined as: “to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.” In a non-religious point of view/from the perspective of someone who does not believe in God, we as humans worship whether we believe in anything or not. As Jordan Verner from Riverhouse Church stated in a sermon once, “it’s not about if you’re worshipping, but what you’re worshipping.” This rings true in many ways; whether it be your job, a relationship/person, money, a hobby, or whatever else you can think of that can take your energy and time to the point of “worship.”
Many people worship things that are not God. Throughout the busyness of life, it can be difficult to not do this. This busyness, however, can be broken through prayer, and a habit of seeking God can be made (reference to the last article). But though we are all sinners and the only redemption from sin is found in Christ—none can boast of their own goodness or works; God alone is good—as one starts to walk with Jesus, not only do their chains fall away, but their worship begins to center upon the One who saved them. As we continue to seek after God, our worship begins to mimic Him; the very essence of God is kindled within us, and our worship begins to reflect that. Where there was previously a spirit of thanklessness, now gratitude can be found; where there was unchecked pride before, now humility can be seen.
Awesome video showing the power of God (and the act of worshipping Him) in prison:
One of the easiest ways to worship God is to simply thank Him for all He has done. This act is something we all can have trouble doing, especially when we start throwing ourselves a pity-party and looking at any undesirable situation we might be in and saying, “why won’t you save me from this, God?” Or we test God and say, “God, do this for me and then I promise I will follow you.”
God wants a relationship with people who know how to worship Him in both the good times and the bad times. And this doesn’t mean we can’t mourn or hurt or ask God to take something away; even Jesus prayed for a solution other than the crucifixion. But despite Christ’s anguish in the moment, His eyes were set on God’s will, “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will’” (Mark 14:36). Being able to thank God and seek His will, even when everything isn’t going your way, defines what true worship looks like.
Now, a clear example of constant worship through the good and bad is demonstrated by Paul in the Bible. While writing his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Still, however; Paul writes a whole letter of encouragement to the church of the Ephesians, and exemplifies what it means to worship: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20). Remember, Paul wrote this while in prison—and at this point, having already endured countless hardships/beatings/imprisonments (refer to 2 Corinthians 11:16-33)—and is still telling others to sing songs from the heart to the Lord, and always give thanks to Him in everything.
Simply being grateful for what God has done in our lives, and continually finding ways to thank Him, brings clarity to our eyes that previously could only see the negatives in life, and opening them to see the goodness of God. If you are having trouble thanking God today, or you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, simply starting from the bottom can help. Are you alive? Can you breathe? Can you walk? Can you eat food without someone else helping you? Can you eat without any pain? Can you see? Can you hear? Smell? Think? Dream? Love? There is an endless list of things to be grateful for, but there is also an endless list of things to be resentful about. Which list do you find yourself looking to more?
To be like Paul in the previous example does not happen overnight. Such faith comes from a life full of worship—and in light of all that Paul had gone through, we know he was most likely thanking God on rough days more than good days. Though, once a faith like Paul’s is realized, every day is a good day since it is being lived for the Lord; he was probably more joyful in his prison cell than most of us will be on our best day. But to worship and grow into a relationship with God that brings joy no matter what life-situation we may be in, is also founded on humility. To humble one’s self before God is to let go of the control we think we have in our life, and to set down at the cross the things that keep our eyes off of God.
Saying a simple, sincere prayer can help, “Lord, I’m sorry for all I have done against you. I’m sorry for hurting you and for any sin I have committed. It is my fault and mine alone, and I ask for forgiveness.”
To ask for forgiveness requires a person to take a posture of humility; of a willingness to submit and take responsibility. To be unable to do this creates a barrier of pride between us and God; if we can’t humble ourselves before the One who is perfect and good, how will we do it in life to people who are naturally broken and wicked?
Our greatest example is found in Jesus, who—despite having ALL power at His disposal—embodied humility to the point of death. A death brought about by the very people whom He loved and came to save. But Christ demonstrated the awesome power and love of God in this: that whoever would believe in His name would be saved—even the very people who physically tortured and killed Him that day (John 3:16). Such a love seems impossible, illogical, inconceivable; yet God did this, and He continues to do it to this day. God is constantly at work, and Jesus Christ will never stop reaching out to us. It is our own pride that will blind us to the greatest gift ever given: the gift of freedom found in Jesus. And that is something worth worshipping.