In the last post, we talked about the purpose and desire that we all have for worship. We were created to glorify God. Remember??…We all have mirrored souls designed to reflect the glory of something or someone, right? So what does “GOD-Centered” worship look like? If worship is going on around every corner in this old world, what does true, refreshing God-centered worship look like. Let’s dive in…
In part one, we defined worship as “Our response to the thing we value most.” And while this definition is true for every human in the world, “God-centered” worship requires a little more. So what’s the difference between someone worshipping whatever, and someone worship the one true God? In this post we are only going to look at a few lines. Here we go…
“God Centered” worship is….
Both personal and corporate,
To God –
For who He is!
And what He has done!
Expressed in and by the things we say
And the way we live.
Take a minute to soak that in….think about it. The first statement says WORSHIP IS… One thing that I have come to understand in my life is that Worship is a verb. It is an action. It is something that I do. To truly worship God requires an action on my part…sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, and sometimes emotionally…but it always requires an action. If you want to know what “God-Centered” worship looks like, just take a minute and flip through the book of Psalms:
Shout to God. Sing a new song. Dance before Him. Clap your hands. Bow down. Lift up your head. Tell of His might. Stand in awe. Meditate on His truth. Walk in His ways. Still your heart. Cast down your idols. Run to Him. Make a loud noise. Lift your hands. Clash the cymbals. Praise Him with trumpet. Seek His face. Tell the nations.
You’ll notice that for the writers of the Psalms, simply saying “I Love You, God” was not enough. There was always an internal and/or external expression of their infatuation with God. Sometime later, Jesus told a Saducee scribe, in Mark 12:30, that the greatest commandment was “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength”. He was saying in every emotion, every thought, and every movement we make we are to love and worship the Lord. And in the words of 1 John 3:18, “Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth.” Worship is a verb.
OK, next phrase: worship is OUR RESPONSE TO GOD (skipping the third line for right now). It is important for us as Christians to realize that we do not initiate worship. Our worship is very simply a response to God’s revelation in our lives. Everything begins and ends with God. If you read through the scriptures you will see countless acts of worship that started through a healing, miracle, or revelation of the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Many churches sometimes feel that they have to create an atmosphere, or set the stage for worship to take place. I think sometimes we put so much emphasis on creating an atmosphere that we forget that the only way real worship will happen is if the congregation catches a glimpse of God revealing Himself. There are a very cool couple of chapters that I have grabbed onto in my life. If you have some time, read Exodus 33:12-23 & 34:1-18. This is the story of Moses, a man who was so determined to see God that he didn’t care what would happen to him. He went up on a mount and said “Please, show me Your glory” (33:18). In the following verses, God said, “OK Moses, (I’m paraphrasing here, of course) but no man has ever looked on my face and lived…but I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’m going to put you in this rock cleft and block your view to my face, then I’ll pass by and remove my hand and you will be able to see My back.” And the Lord did it, and in response to this great sight 34:8 said “So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.” This worship was initiated by God revealing Himself. God gave Moses a reason to worship Him when He showed Moses His glory. This should be the same with us…”God-Centered” worship cannot happen any other way.
Take a look at the next couple of lines: …our response FOR WHO HE IS. If you were looking for the reason to center your worship on God, here it is. We are to worship Him for who He is. If someone were to ask you, “who is God, that I should worship Him,” what would you say? Would your answer warrant a life of devotion and awe? To be worshipped in this world, it is usually not enough to just be yourself. People tend to worship great accomplishments, or great fame, or great fortune. So what makes God different…why should we worship simply because of who He is? I have found that the answer lies in the very character of God. He is sovereign, He is powerful, He is holy, good, gracious, loving, compassionate, merciful, wise, faithful…. And the list goes on. Simply put, God and His character is the only one who can bring life. He is the only one worthy to be worshipped because He is the only one who can pour out grace because of who He is. To worship anything else, would mean that I am worshipping something that in itself is death. Only God is worthy to be worshipped for WHO HE IS.
The next line….for who he is AND WHAT HE’S DONE. Something that really spurs on my worship in times when I might not feel like worshipping is memories of past grace in my life. The remembrance of how God has worked in my life, or how He has blessed me in some way, or how He showed Himself real and mighty in my life somehow. It is so encouraging to know that God does not sit idly by and simply expect us to worship Him JUST because of who He is (although that would be enough), but He chooses to give us glimpses of Him being God in our lives. He chooses to reveal Himself. He wants to be known and sought after, so He makes Himself known. In your worship, look back and search for God in circumstances and situations in your life. It will prove the faithfulness, holiness, and goodness of God in your life and will spur on your worship.
So, in this post we have only touched on about half of this definition of “God-Centered” worship. In Part III, we will finish discussing this definition and see how it applies to our lives. I pray that everyday we get up, go to work/school, go to church, or do whatever it is we do that we would constantly seek God’s glory and respond to Him in true “God-Centered” worship. Until next time…