By Duane Vander Klok
What comes to mind when you hear the word “worship”? Do you think of classical hymns and organs, or do you picture a band with drums, electric guitars, pianos, and singers? Maybe you think of worship as a church service including the music, sermon, and everything in between.
What do we really mean when we use the word worship? I would say that the essence of worship is seen in a heart surrendered to God. The Dictionary says to worship is “to show reverence and adoration.” An Old English definition describes worship as showing “worthiness and an acknowledgment of worth.”
No matter how anyone else defines it, the better question is this: What does the Bible say about worship? I want to take the next couple of moments to consider worship as revealed in Scripture, and more specifically, worship as praise through music, as our actions and attitudes, and even as rest.
Worship Through Music
Generally, when people think about worship, they visualize people praising God in song. Throughout the Bible, we can find believers giving praise to Him for all He has done, is doing, and continues to do in the lives of His people.
The book of the Bible dedicated to these songs is the book of Psalms. When translated from the original language, the word “psalm” literally means “words accompanying music.” The Psalms are a collection of lyrics that all of Israel would sing in praise to God as they worshiped. They were written by multiple authors over many years. They tell stories, sing songs of praise, tell of victories, defeats, mourning, and so much more.
You will notice all throughout the Psalms, the authors use the word “sing.” For example, they call the hearers and readers to “sing for joy to the Lord” (95:1), “Sing to the Lord a new song” (98:1), “Sing to Him, sing praise to Him” (105:2), and more. Worship is singing praises to God!
Psalm 150:3-6 shows us that praise is not limited to our voices, but can also include musical instruments. It says, “Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with timbrel and dancing, praise Him with the strings and pipe, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”
Scripture most definitely calls us to worship God through music. It does not matter if it is done with a choir, an organ, or with modern instruments. It doesn’t matter if your voice is perfect, or if you have no voice at all. The important part is that we are worshiping God through music in honor, glory, and surrender to Him.
Worship Through Action and Attitude
Beyond worshiping through music, worship includes the things we think, say, and do throughout the week. It involves how we use the gifts, talents, and callings God has given us – and it looks different for each of us. We can worship God anywhere, anytime.
Proverbs 16:3 says it this way: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do,” and assures that in response, He will “establish your plans.” When we submit the things we do and offer them as worship to Him, He blesses our lives and leads us step by step. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
1 Peter 4:10-11 also says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
So you see, our worship doesn’t just include the physical actions, but also how we interact with one another. It includes our attitudes and words toward family, friends, coworkers, and even complete strangers. This does not mean that we should put on fake smiles and appear to be happy all of the time. Instead, we are called to have joy-filled attitudes regardless of how we feel at the moment, and do everything as unto the Lord. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 12:1, says it this way: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”
Worship is more than singing songs to the Lord. It is living a life dominated by your spirit. As we position our hearts in surrender to God, we begin to worship Him beyond the songs we sing at church.
Worship Through Rest
We know that, in the beginning, God created everything in six days. When He finished, Genesis 2:2 says that He, “rested from all his work.”
When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, He addressed the subject of rest. In Exodus 20:8-11 we read, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
The seventh day is not just a day to cease from physical labor and activities, but it is a day of recalibration and surrender to a place of rest and trust in God. That doesn’t always come easy to people. In fact, for many of us, the hardest thing we can do is to let go of being in control of the things going on in our lives.
As I close I want to take another look at Romans 12:1 – this time from the Message Bible. It says: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.”
This is not just meant for one day out of the week, but for each and every day. Whether we are praising God through music, worshiping through our actions, attitudes and even in our rest, we are humbling ourselves and giving God His rightful place. We’re positioning our hearts in surrender to Him, and giving Him all of our life.
This is worship.
If you’ve never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or you aren’t sure where you stand with Him, we invite you to do so now. This simple prayer, prayed from your heart, can be the beginning of your new life in Christ:
Dear God, I believe that Jesus died on the cross, that He shed His precious blood and paid for my sins. I receive Your forgiveness for every sin I’ve ever committed. I believe in my heart that Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over death, sin, and the devil. I turn my back on my old ways, and I receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I’m not going to live to please myself any longer. I’m going to worship by living for You every day. Jesus, I am yours, now and forever! Heavenly Father, I thank You that my past is gone, my sins are forgiven, I am Your child, on my way to heaven, and part of your eternal kingdom – in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Do you need prayer? Please email us at [email protected] or call 1-800-988-5120.
All scriptures are quoted from the New International Version of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.