Monday, August 7, 2017

True Virtue: Worship

When many hear the word worship, they think of a band at the front of a church singing songs. That is definitely part of worship, but there is much more to it. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines worship as: homage [deference/submission and respect] rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render to any created being. Jesus says that we must worship in spirit and in truth, if our lives do not line up with that our worship is false.

John 4:24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

The word worship is mentioned in almost every book of the Bible. I once heard it referred to as “worth-ship” showing God’s worthiness to be praised, respected, submitted to, etc. God commanded that as a necessary part of not only “church services” but of religion in general. In the Ten Commandments (Ex 20) God commanded that He was to be our only God, the only One we worshipped. But if He is the only one we are to worship, that implies that we must worship Him, first.

Worship is of course praise, showing or telling others your respect and admiration for God. It also has an aspect of humility because it is acknowledging that He is mightier than we are. It also acknowledges His greatness and authority and our submission to Him and Him alone. This means that we should not praise, respect, admire or submit to any more than we do to Him. But it also means that we need to praise, respect, admire and submit to God. If we omit even one of these, we are not true worshippers of God.

This brings up the fact that God is not just our Savior, He is also our Lord. And He cannot be our Savior if He is not also our Lord. Part of belief in God requires submission to Him. That is what it means to worship in spirit and truth, to be truly submitted to God, to worship Him as He is and not our preference of Him. We need to worship Him as Lord and Savior.

Matthew 4:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

Worship is to be reserved for Him alone. Centuries ago, people created wood or metal images of things and worshipped them.

Romans 1:25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

This was idolatry. In general, we do not see that much now, it is not a temptation most Christians face. But there is a more subtle form of idolatry. And that is giving our praise, respect, admiration or submission to anything else. This could include one’s children, spouse, job, money, celebrities, social media, even self. Self, I believe, is one of the biggest, most prominent idols in America. We are told to do what makes us happy, to live for ourselves. And many of us do it. We serve ourselves, we worship ourselves (hello selfies), we submit to ourselves and do whatever we want regardless of right, wrong, or how it affects others.

Matthew 15:8-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

When we have idolatry in our hearts, that nullifies our worship of God. Going through the motions on Sunday morning is meaningless, even revolting to God, if we worship anything else in any way. We need to give God our whole worship, not just some of it. We need to get rid of any idol that is drawing us away from God. We need to get rid of anything that we love more, praise more, anything that we turn to when we are upset, stressed, happy, sad, anything we seek to help us cope that isn’t God. We need to love God the most, praise Him alone, and turn to Him first, before we go anywhere else about anything. Only then can we worship Him in truth.  To worship in spirit means to live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit. We must live as Jesus lived, be lead by the Spirit and seek the things of God, in order to worship God in Spirit.

Ultimately worship involves every aspect of our lives, and if our lives are not according to God’s Spirit and truth, then our worship is a mockery of God. We need to live godly lives and seek to grow in godliness so that we may truly worship God as He requires, rather than worshipping how we want. Seek to have a life that is according to God’s Spirit and truth, seek to truly worship God and put your whole heart into it.

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