In my last article, I discussed why we should worship God. Now, I would like to explore how He is to be worshipped. John 4:1-26 is a great passage that sheds light on the subject. Here, we get to eavesdrop on a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well during the lunch hour. She has words, then He has words. By the end of the conversation,
Jesus’ authority has been established and her inquiries about worship practices have been cleared up. Jesus quickly let her know that real worship is not so much about a location or activity, but rather a relationship. We’ve been instructed to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Growing up, my father and I had somewhat of a perfunctory relationship. Certain requirements were fulfilled out of ritual obligation rather than healthy relationship. One thing that particularly comes to mind is our greetings. I was required to greet him with a handshake or hug immediately after waking in the morning as well as before going to bed at night. If we were to enter each other’s presence during the day, another handshake was required. How much more meaningful for me would it have been to have had the opportunity to greet him in my own way because of the excitement and anticipation of spending time together versus a required method of saying hello?
Before humanity had the opportunity to be redeemed through Jesus Christ, worship was relegated to a specific place and manner. Because there were tons of rules and rituals involved,it had become easy to worship God with the hands, but not the heart. Since one of the primary benefits of life in Christ is the open relationship we enjoy with our Father, let’s be sure to meaningfully engage Him at the heart level. God is actively pursuing us with His love, care, mercy and grace, so let’s respond with genuine, heartfelt worship.
Have you ever taken a look at why you worship the way you do? With regard to corporate gatherings, how many of you sing, lift your hands, say amen or shout because they are familiar parts of the ritual experience? For those who are ministry employees, do you participate in worship because it’s part of your job requirement? Do you attend church regularly because its the American thing to do and you have been taught by your parents that you are supposed to? If you are not careful, these and other worship motives can cause your worship to become stale and meaningless. Unfortunately, your time with God can become nothing more than a bunch of activities that eventually become disconnected from your heart and only happen because of a time sheet or checklist. How do you guard against this travesty? Intentionality. In preparation for worship, center yourself and focus in prayer. Decide to connect fully and use all of who you are to love on God. Think through what you’re doing. Understand the lyrics you’re singing and allow them to become your words to God. Reflect on your day or week and note God’s amazing work in your life, then apply gratitude to your worship. These same principles apply to your personal devotional time. It’s important that you don’t just spend a few thoughtless moments with God during a commute, between calls or on a break from social media, but be intentional about scheduling quality time with Him. The same centering prayer moments are necessary as well as reflection and applied gratitude.
At the end of our Bible story, we see that many Samaritans come to believe in Christ because of the way the woman responded to the quality time she had spent with Jesus. The same is true for us. One of our assignments is to share Christ with the world. There are many ways that this can be done, but one of the simplest is through real worship. You see, real worship not only blesses God, it changes us. When we engage in regular quality time with our Father, his ways rub off on us. We begin to look and act more like Him. As our behavior changes, our relationships and influence with people changes. Simply put, living well as an act of worship can change the world.
I encourage you, my brother and sister, to be intentional, thoughtful and heart’ful in your regular worship of our Father and watch your life change as well as the world around you. Make sure your worship is really….for real.
Author, Chad Brawley
Worship Ministry Consultant