Summary: Worship encompasses every aspect of our lives. It includes our thoughts, words, and actions. We must devote everything we are to Jesus. He deserves our faithful allegiance.
In my last post, I talked about the weird prayers we pray to God. In this post and in some following posts, I will teach on the basics of worship.
Have you ever thought about how you worship the Lord? Is there something you should be doing that you’re not doing? These are just some questions we should ask ourselves as we worship God. We don’t want to anger God because we are not worshipping Him the way he wants to be worshiped.
I can’t cover everything about worship in just a couple of posts. I surely do not know everything there is to know about how to worship God. Some questions you best learn by practice. The longer you live, the more you learn about worshiping God.
However, I can help you get started. I offer this and the several following posts to you as the basics of worship. Over the next four posts, we will start with the basics, talk about the goodness and greatness of God, worshiping God with your mind, and worshiping God in spirit and truth. Let’s get started!
What Is Worship?
Many definitions of worship exist, from raising our hands and clapping to worship songs to listening to sermons and taking notes. I want to offer a broader definition to encompass everything we can do to worship God.
Worship is everything we do to offer glory to God and our undying allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. This includes our thinking, speaking, and actions. Even thinking about Jesus is worship. No one can see it or stop it from happening.
By calling Jesus “Lord” we give Him our undying allegiance. We cannot call Him Lord if we say no to Him. And with so many ways to do that, with her mind, mouth, and hands, we must be as faithful to Jesus as we can, for he has never failed in faithfulness to us. Thank God for His grace!
Let us proceed with this definition in mind as we talk about worship. I have spoken about worship before in our Conformed to Christ series. That post will also be helpful for us to move forward. Let’s continue to talk about worship.
The Basics of Worship
Showing our allegiance to Jesus means rejecting everything else. This goes to the very first of the Ten Commandments to have no other gods besides the Lord. We demonstrate our allegiance to Jesus through worship when we think about Him, talk about Him, and do things for Him.
Keeping this in mind, the basics of worship are simple. Jesus taught them with two commandments, reducing the Ten Commandments to two. He took the first four commandments and categorize them under loving God. The last six commandments to loving others.
We love God because He first loved us and has always been faithful to us. We struggle to be faithful to Him always. This is where allegiance comes in. The more we can show our allegiance to Christ, the more we worship Him.
But what about loving other people? Sometimes this is hard for us to do. People are not always faithful to love us, so why should we love them? They do not have the mind of Christ, have not been saved by Jesus, and can be quite wicked. Does Jesus really require us to love them?
The way we treat one another is key to understanding the last six commandments. We love people when we don’t do the things mentioned in the first six commandments. But Jesus actually expanded the last six commandments. When He commands us to love our neighbor, or other people, it goes beyond those commandments and includes every action we have with others.
Why does God want us to love other people, even though they are wicked? Politicians get this wrong regularly. Unbelievers are not God’s children. That is a privilege reserved for those Jesus redeems. But every human being has the image of God in them. It is tainted by sin and rebellion, but it is still in them. We cannot love God without loving those who have His image in them.
So, worshiping God requires that we not only love Him, but we love everyone around us, even if they are not Christians. Worship includes what we think, say, and do, and how we treat God and others. That’s a tall order, and we could not do it without the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Worshiping with Your Body
My previous teaching on postures in worship is the background for this section of talking about the basics of worship. But worshiping God with our bodies goes beyond the postures we use that show our heart.
We worship God with what we do with our bodies. Think larger than postures. What we do with our hands either glorifies the Lord or doesn’t. This includes how we use our brains. Paul urged us to be renewing our minds (Romans 12:1-2), and offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
We could use our minds to think on good things (Philippians 4:8). The act of taking our thoughts captive to Christ is worship (2 Corinthians 10:5). I will talk more about how to worship God with our minds in a later post.
The way we speak is part of our worship. James says that our mouths should not be speaking blessing and cursing at the same time (James 3:9-13). We can use our minds and mouths to glorify Jesus or deny Him. When the going got rough, Peter denied Jesus with his lips three times. Let us not think we are incapable of the same response to trials and persecution. Job refused to curse God and die as his wife suggested (Job 2:9-10).
Consider also what we do with our bodies involving other people. Paul taught us how we use our bodies to glorify God. He said not to offer the members of our bodies to darkness and wickedness in fellowship (2 Corinthians 6:14-16; 7:1). This includes sexual interaction, and physical and verbal abuse of others.
Paul concludes elsewhere that our bodies do not belong to us but to the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:20). Our bodies are God’s temple and God’s Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). For all these reasons, we must honor God with our bodies, give Him the best of our conduct with our bodies.
Worshiping in Your Heart
The Bible talks about the heart and mind as one, because in the Hebrew mindset, they are related. When we worship God in our hearts, it means to have Jesus permanently on the throne of our hearts. Every action, choice, decision, desire, motivation, and intention must belong to Him.
As I said before, it’s a wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. He can help us as He monitors our thoughts, speech, and actions. He lets us know when we violate God’s holy best for us. He works with our conscience to keep us living wholly for Him.
Jesus knows when our hearts are led astray. James twice mentions that double mindedness of our hearts and minds (James 1:8; 4:8). Our hearts must belong to Jesus and reject worldliness and every idol that sets itself up against Jesus. Let us continue to offer our allegiance to Jesus only. This is a battle that continues to rage in us. We must be vigilant.
Whenever anything sets itself up against Jesus in your heart, squash it. Offer your praise and worship, your devotion, to Jesus in every form you can think of. Honor Him in every situation you face.
We have walked through learning the basics of worship. Now we will turn to how to worship God in His greatness and His goodness.