On Worship as Lifestyle

On Worship as Lifestyle

On Worship as Lifestyle.

“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? With eyes wide open to His mercies, here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: I encourage you, as a act of sensible, intelligent worship, to surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifice. Make a decisive dedication of your bodies, presenting all your members and faculties. Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Live in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. This offering of the whole of our lives is a worshipful act that is pleasing to God. And this becomes your genuine expression of spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1; a weaving together of The Passion Translation, the Message, Philip’s translation, the Amplified Bible, and the New Jerusalem Bible).

“The time is coming – it has in fact come – when where you worship will not matter. From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place, but with the right heart. It’s not where we worship that counts, but how we worship. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s right, true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth. Is our worship spiritual and real? Do we have the Holy Spirit’s help? For God is Spirit, a spiritual Being, is in fact sheer Being itself. We must have His Spirit’s help to worship as we should. And those who worship Him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. The Father longs to have sincere worshipers, those who are simply and honestly themselves in their worship, who adore Him in the realm of the Spirit and in reality.” (John 4:23-24, a weaving together of the Message, the Passion Translation, the New Jerusalem Bible, the Living Bible, Philip’s translation, the Amplified Bible, and the New King James Bible.)

Worship means literally to “bow down,” to adore, honor, revere, hold in awe. In the Aramaic, it means to “surrender.” Worship is engaging our spirit as we engage His Spirit, crying “Holy, holy, holy!”

Since the early Church, worship has been communal and evangelistic, as well as private and devotional. In fact, vibrant worship has tended to attract unbelievers to an active Christian community, an important step in the age-old idea, “to belong in order to believe.”

Worship is listening to God and receiving, as well as offering to God and doing. It is meditative as well as expressive, noisy as well as silent, musical as well as poetic. Worship is an event as well as a lifestyle. It is symbolic communication with images, as well as verbal with words. Worship is experiencing God’s mysteries, as well as His clarity and revelation. Worship is a dedication and an orientation. It is multi-sensory and experiential as well as didactic and cerebral. Worship involves adoring God with all our mind, as well as our heart, soul and strength.

Finally, worship has enjoyed lots of elbow room for variety and spontaneity, but within a thoughtful framework that is Trinitarian and Christ-centered. Worship is primarily upward, outward, God-focused, where He has center stage. Worship has been man’s attempt to obey Him by not only setting apart a time to gaze on Him, but also by setting apart a life that honors Him, and being transformed in the process.

“The best-known Biblical designation of God as “holy” is that of Isaiah 6, where the prophet envisions the angels singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory!” When this verse is recited in part of the daily liturgy, it is customary to stand on tiptoe and stretch upward 3 times, as though we were rising to grasp at the unreachable holiness of God. God’s holiness may indeed be a mystery beyond us, but we realize it in this world by simple and concrete acts of holy living, such as loving your neighbor, protecting the stranger, and caring for the poor.” (Rabbi Arthur Green).

“Worship is the style of life in which our bodies become living sacrifices offered up before God. Worship isn’t a religious performance we sit back and enjoy; it’s an act in which we participate. And as we participate, we’re changed. Worship is what He uses to bring about transformation.”  (Eugene Peterson).

“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of the imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose. And all of this is gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable, and therefore the chief remedy of that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.” (William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1881-1944)