Worship is more than singing. It’s about our whole self and our whole life. Worship happens in those moments when we give all of our attention and reverence to God, no matter what we are doing. Worship and obedience go hand in hand.
What comes to mind when you hear the word worship? Is it singing? Is it praying? Is it formal or casual? Is it traditional or modern? Is it public or private? Is it personal or communal? Is it active or reflective? Probably yes and yes and yes.
In the Bible, worship is often associated with song and praise. Just read the Songs of Moses, Deborah, David, or Mary to see how powerful this type of worship can be. (You can find these in Deuteronomy 23:1-32; Judge 5:2-31, 2 Samuel 22 and many of the Psalms, Luke 1:46-55)
But worship is more than song and praise. In fact, throughout scripture, God often tells his people that he doesn’t mostly want their songs and celebrations because those are often just fake performances. Instead wants their sincere lives of loving obedience.
What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifice, or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is a sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. (1 Samuel 15:22-23)
I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. (Amos 5:21-24)
We are going to define worship with a big-picture perspective like this:
Worship is acknowledging and believing that Jesus Christ is Lord, and responding with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength (or thoughts, words, and deeds; or head, heart, and hands).
By this definition, worship is a way of life, not just a feeling or an event, and that makes sense because the God who loves us and saves us is glorious and mighty. He deserves all glory, praise, and honor, all the time.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord god, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come. You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. Amen.” (from Revelation 5)
Begin with a conversation starter, then use these warmup questions.
READ & REFLECT
Use one or more of these passages to see what scripture says about spending time in worship. You can also engage with the passage by copying out part of it, rewriting it as a prayer, rephrasing it as its opposite, summarizing it with a single word or phrase, making a list or chart of similar and dissimilar things, or turning it into something visual like a doodle, design, or flowchart.
JESUS' EXAMPLE: Read Matthew 4:1-11 (Jesus tempted by Satan).
POSITIVE EXAMPLE: Read Luke 7:36-50 (a woman anoints Jesus) or Luke 23:44-47 (a Roman soldier worships Jesus).
NEGATIVE EXAMPLE: Read Mark 10:17-27 or Matthew 19:16-22 (rich young ruler)
TEACHING PASSAGE: Read John 4:21-24 (Jesus visits with a woman at a well)
SOME IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO WEAVE WORSHIP INTO DAILY LIFE
Then pause for just a few seconds to focus all of your attention and love on him.
Remember that every act of obedience — that is, setting aside your own desires and putting God’s will first — is worship. For some people, the idea of ‘worship’ is more inviting than the idea of ‘obedience,’ even though they go hand in hand. This week, think of obedience as worship.
MORE VERSES ABOUT SPENDING TIME IN WORSHIP (from NLT)
Honor the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. (Psalm 29:2)
Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious song. (Psalm 66:4)
Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. (Psalm 100:2)
Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. (1 John 5:21)
Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. (Jonah 2:8)
In the last days , the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. (Micah 4:1)
“Get out of here Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’” (Matthew 4:10)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (Romans 12:1)
So my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. (1 Corinthians 10:14)
Worship Christ as Lord of your life. (1 Peter 3:15)
I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!” (Revelation 22:9)
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