When we talk about worship, most people get a picture of a band playing in an auditorium with people standing, hands raised, and singing along to whatever worship song is most popular right now.
And while this can be worship, it isn’t all there is to worship.
If we stop here, we’ve missed the much bigger picture of what worship really is, and we’ve completely missed the powerful aspect to worship.
An aspect to worship that is utterly life-altering!
In recent years, we’ve reduced worship to music.
And not just music, but a style of music that we sing on a Sunday morning before the sermon. In fact, contemporary Christian music (CCM) has all but become extinct as what used to be the worship music industry has overtaken it.
Worship isn’t just reduced to music, but a style of music.
And this is an unfortunate truth for many reasons (most of which I don’t have time to address today), the main reason being that in reducing music to such a simplistic idea, we’ve lost the power God intended.
5 Powerful Truths About Worship
Worship isn’t just music, it is a state of the heart.
It is a lifestyle that we choose to live 24 hours a day, every day of our life. It is being conscious of the fact that everything we say and do is either glorifying God or detracting from His glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31
And while some would argue that this is far more simplistic, it really isn’t.
The choice to live a life of worship is a choice to live a life of sacrifice and dying to self every minute of the day.
I believe that the reduction of worship to merely a style of music that we sing has been a calculated and very purposeful move on the part of the enemy to rob us of it’s dynamic power.
Ezekiel 28:13 seems to indicate that Satan may have been involved in music to some level before his fall.
And if he has any agenda at all, it is to distract us and keep us from seeing God for who He really is; to keep us from glorifying Him fully.
Music has doubtless become the idol of the church.
We walk into an auditorium intended for God’s people to collectively worship Him, but exalt our worship band instead – a team of well-trained musicians and singers who expertly play songs that have been professionally written by even more expert musicians – songs that have risen on popular music charts and get ample radio play.
We go to church and worship man.
And our worship is robbed of the power God intended because it’s been perverted into a worship of man.
This was never more evident than the day I visited a church, where during the worship in a darkened auditorium, on the stage was a worship band of young people in ski caps and ripped jeans leading what were the most popular songs that year.
The people standing around me were engaged in conversations, out loud, while the worship band played.
Almost no one was participating….until the moment the band began the intro to what was the hottest song with the most radio play.
Suddenly, conversations were abandoned, the people around me jumped to their feet, raised the hands and sang as loud as they could.
Until the song was over. And the conversations resumed.
What are these 5 powerful truths that we are missing in worship today?
1. Worship is a choice
In the Old Testament, worship and offering animal and grain sacrifices were often one and the same.
In fact, when a sacrifice was burned on the altar, it was a pleasing aroma to God – it gave Him pleasure to see His people worship Him in a sacrificial way.
Worship isn’t always overflowing with emotions of joy and dancing or overwhelm and tears.
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves.” Psalm 69:30-31
Very often, our greatest act of worship is the deep pain of sacrifice. Laying down on the altar what is most precious to us and trusting that God will be glorified through it.
Abraham’s act of faith, when he tool Isaac with him to Mt. Moriah, stating by faith that he and the boy would return home – and yet following through by laying Isaac on the altar of sacrifice – was the most powerful and profound act of worship!
God was exalted in his life more than even his own flesh and blood.
And because He exalted God more than Isaac, he was able to have an unshakeable faith that somehow, someway, Isaac would return home with him.
Worship is a choice.
It is a daily choice:
- To lay down our idols
- To lay down our rights
- To lay down our desires
- To lay down our emotions
- To lay down our egos
- To lay down our reputation
All for the glory of God.
2. Worship comes from a pure heart
I know this may not be popular to say, but pure, unadulterated worship must come from a pure heart.
“I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Psalm 66:17-18
We cannot be clubbing on Saturday night and worship God on Sunday morning.
We cannot be shacking up or sleeping around during the week and worship God on Sunday morning.
We cannot be using profanity Monday – Saturday and with the same mouth that uses potty language, worship God on Sunday morning.
Oh, we may sing the words. We may even cry and raise our hands and have fluttering emotions – but our hearts are far from God.
We are worshiping something, but we’re not worshiping God – because true worship with God starts with living an obedient life!
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
Worship is born out of a heart that is already obedient to God.
“Therefore the Lord said: ‘Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me,” Isaiah 29:13
Pure worship that pleases God comes from a heart that chooses to glorify Him through our actions, not just the words of a popular worship song.
3. Worship is for God, not for us
The natural outcome of a worship service that truly glorifies God is that the wave of God’s glory will splash down on us.
Just as when my husband brings me flowers, he brings them to shower love on me, and benefits from his selfless act of love toward me.
We know that when we go to church to worship God, we will come out feeling the joy and satisfaction from being in His presence, but the question is what our motivation is for worship?
Worship is a two-way experience: When we truly worship God in Spirit and in truth, we will benefit from that by having a powerful, personal encounter with Him.
But we will not have a genuine, authentic, personal encounter with God if we don’t first truly worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
Worship is ultimately for God – to glorify Him, to exalt Him, to declare that His worth and value to us is greater than anything and anyone….that literally nothing is of greater value to us in our lives than He is.
And when we worship God this way, He graciously and generously allows us to benefit from that by feeling His pleasure!
4. Worship defeats the enemy
Here is where points 1-3 begin to display their dynamic power in our lives.
When we make the choice to worship God sacrificially, living lives of obedience that glorify Him above all else, realizing that worship is all about God and Him being exalted and elevated in our lives above anything and anyone else….
We will not live defeated.
Oh – like David – we may be led through times of testing, but we will come out on the other side victorious!
“You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.” Psalm 66:12
Because worship is a powerful tool in our arsenal to defeat the enemy!
We see this throughout the Old Testament: at times, when God would lead the Israelite army into battle, He would have the worshipers go before the army and the enemy would defeat itself.
“They have seen Your procession, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the maidens playing timbrels.” Psalm 68:24-25
- They defeated Jericho with worship (Joshua 6)
- They defeated the Midianites with worship (Judges 7)
- They defeated Ammon and Moab with worship (2 Chronicles 20)
Worship isn’t just music, it is spiritual warfare!
This is why every believer should both live a life of obedient worship through their conduct and behavior, as well as daily sing worship music to the Lord in their quiet times – because worship is weapon of warfare for our victory!
5. Worship shames the enemy
I love this portion of the Psalms because while we get only a small glimpse of the picture David was painting, a little research uncovers the whole picture.
You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive; you have received gifts among men, even from the rebellious, that the LORD God might dwell there. Psalm 68:18
When we make the choice to worship God sacrificially, living lives of obedience that glorify Him above all else, realizing that worship is all about God and Him being exalted and elevated in our lives above anything and anyone else, we will see victory in our lives.
But not just victory, the enemy will be openly shamed.
David here says, “You have ascended on high”. He is exalted on the praises of His people.
“You have led captivity captive”.
When worship defeats the enemy, God doesn’t just do a victory dance and move on. Oh no! In the imagery of the day of David’s time, He takes the defeated army captive…
He strips them down naked.
He chains them in a long row of naked, defeated enemies.
He leads them on a procession and makes an open shame of them – for all to see their defeat. Their captivity. Their shame!
This is what God does to His enemies!
And what should be our response?
Overflowing joy, praise, dancing, shouting, and praising the power and mighty of our Victorious Warrior who has gone before us and already won ever battle we’ll ever fight!!
Because Christ has already won the victory!
When He died on the cross, he defeated death, hell and the grave.
He “ascended on high”, he “led captivity captive” (death, hell, and the grave), making an open shame of them as the dead arose from their graves and walked around – proving that the grave has no power!
Then He ascended once more and sent His Holy Spirit in power to fill us and give us the supernatural ability to live victorious lives!
This is the power of true worship!!
Here is where you can find our online Bible study group: Good Morning Girls in the Word
More Content About Worship