The key to real life change is found in practicing the spiritual disciplines that Jesus practiced Himself, which He taught His disciples. So far we have talked about Bible study, prayer, serving, and fellowship. Today we’ll learn about developing a lifestyle of worship. What is worship? How do we define it; how do we practice it? In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for worship means “to bow down, to lay flat on the ground.” In the New Testament, the most common Greek word for worship means to “kiss the hand, to fall on the knees”. Other Greek words for worship mean to “pay homage” and “to render honor.” All of these come into the English language as “worship” which essentially means “worthiness”. True, God-honoring worship involves living in a God-pleasing manner (Romans 12:1-2). Worship shouldn’t be something we do occasionally—it is to be our lifestyle. All that we do should be done to glorify Him. He is to have first place in everything. The way the world looks at things must not shape how we respond to God. We have to be changed—transformed. This happens as our minds are renewed. Only then will we be able to test and approve what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is.
It’s easy to be impacted by the world and get off-course. My brother worked as a longshoreman, and he told me that it takes two miles for a huge freight ship to make a turn. So it’s critical for the captain to be constantly aware of shifting tides, changing weather patterns, or even the slightest shift in the winds. Any of those could put the ship miles of course. I fear that as we navigate our lives, we have not been paying close enough attention, and we drift off course. We get side-tracked; the world takes our attention hostage. Do you need proof? Ask yourself: “What has LeBron James done for you that Jesus hasn’t?!” Other times we’re too tired or distracted to worship God as he deserves. The world also makes us view worship through a consumer lens. We come as critics with our own lists of preferences: the sermon was either too long or too short. The music was either too loud or to quiet. The band didn’t play any songs I like. I fear that we have forgotten that worship is not about us and what we like or dislike. It is about the God who created us. God desires our sincere worship (Psalm 63:1-9). Do you ever find yourself just going through the motions as we gather? Do you ever forget that God is our audience?
Worship is our wonder-filled response to the God who rescued us. As you think about God’s greatness, His grace and mercy, does it manifest itself in daily worship? That is what God deserves and what we will be doing for all of eternity. We value other things more than we value God (athletes, entertainers, even our jobs). We come to worship tired and distracted. We come to worship as consumers. God desires our sincere worship; he isn’t impressed by our religious rituals. God wants us to worship Him as a lifestyle. If we do not worship with this in mind, whether individually or corporately, how can others see that joy in our lives?
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Let’s proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
- Handle threats to worship by being united.
- God calls us to remember all He has done.
- God wants us to have an eternal perspective on worship.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)