By Jeff Arnold
God has put a longing in the hearts of humanity to worship. It is something innate in us, and even though sin has corrupted us, we still seek to worship. Many churches want to force or manipulate worship, but this cannot be done because true worship is the inner person communing with God.
Worship requires the right object or focus. Worship is really an expression of how we feel about a person or thing, not about our wants or needs. Our worship of God is about how good and great God is. We may work up praise (expressions of thanks for what has benefited us), sing loudly, and get folks to clap and shout, but worship goes beyond this. It flows from our perceptions and concepts of the worthiness of God. Do we see Him as great, grand, and deserving an expression of our most inner feelings and thoughts? If not, our efforts to worship will fall short. Jesus told the woman at the well she did not know what she was worshiping. Why? Because worship flows from revelation and without a proper one, or having the wrong object of worship, worship will be wrong.
We must worship in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God delights in and deserves true worship, not vain worship as mentioned in Matthew 15:7-8. Motives must be correct within or the worship experience will be marred and mistaken. Worship must be our expressing to God His worthiness, how wonderful He is, and how grand and great we see Him. Other than angels, we are the only creatures who are permitted to worship God, and we alone have been made in His image.
Only as we behold Him are we ever awed and moved by His greatness. When anyone seeks to worship, he is simply saying, “I love you Lord, not for anything I can get from you or for what you have done already, but because of who and what you are:’
We praise for performances, but we worship for who and what God is. He is righteous, holy, kind, gracious, faithful, all knowing, all wise, totally magnificent, and it is this knowledge that causes us to worship. Seeing He never changes, worship is in order anytime, anyplace, and anywhere.
Our worship always rises and falls according to our concepts, knowledge, and revelations. True worship always rests on previous revelations. When we see Him as He is, the natural response must be worship, adoration, and demonstration. Only the proud and satisfied never worship, but the desperate, the meek, and the humble will be found trying to worship often. John had previous revelations about the Lord Jesus which provided a basis for his getting into the Spirit on the Isle of Patmos, bringing him twenty two chapters of fresh revelation. Revelation is needed for worship, and worship brings a set of new revelations. It is a continual cycle. In Psalm 150:2 we see the distinction between praise and worship. One magnifies performance; the other magnifies God Himself. Worship requires the proper object, previous revelation, and the proper responses, for the heart is involved, not just the head and feelings of the flesh. Too many churches spend their time looking for workers, while God is looking for worshipers, for if we are worshipers, the work we do will be full of life and joy. Worship is really our attitude about Jesus and how we express those are to our choosing, but worship we must! Job worshiped God even after terrible hurts and loss. How did he do it? He knew his situations did not change God. God remains the same, so we must choose to magnify Him in spite of our disasters.
Finally, worship must contain sacrifice. Consider Abraham and Isaac on Moriah. Without sacrifice worship does not really happen; religion and ritual may, but not worship. Worship will cost us something-our plans, our desires, our feelings, or whatever. But in our sacrifice we can shout, “Oh, Lord, you are worthy of my best, my all, my words, and actions:’ For His various attributes should cause our lips and lives to explode and express our worship. Become a worshiper!
Jeff Arnold is pastor of the United Pentecostal Church in Gainesville, Florida.