The Bible is more than just a rule book, and more than just a bunch of stories. It is the revelation of God. It paints a vivid picture of God’s love for mankind. It shows us the vastness and wonder of God’s inherent character.
Why is this important in the realm of worship? What is the connection between true worship and God? True worship is worship that happens in spirit and in truth (John 4). Without an accurate picture of God, our worship can’t be truthful, spirit-filled, connective, or meaningful. We will find ourselves in a trap of redundant and ritualistic worship without meaning or authenticity. But seeking to understand God’s nature, His true nature, frees us from redundant worship.
How does redundant worship take over in our lives? It happens when our vision of God is limited by our own experience instead of the expressive revelation of who He is. When we let our understanding of God be shaped solely by our own limited experience, we put God in a box of our own design. Putting God in this box (which can’t contain Him anyway), makes our worship limited and flat.
The good news is that the Bible gives us a clear picture of consistent and dynamic worship of God. In every situation where people encounter the true and unchanging nature of God, worship immediately follows. We see this in the life of Abraham, Moses, David, Job, Elijah, Isaiah, and many others.
In fact, the unchanging nature of God was so real to the Apostle Paul, that his writings often include periods of expressive worship that momentarily break from his train of thought. The reality, though, is that there really isn’t a break because sound truth and theology should always result in a true expression of worship. We see this in Paul’s writings in 1 Timothy. Twice in this letter Paul breaks into praise, using what is believed to be early Christian worship language, in response to the truth of God being revealed. In 1 Timothy 1:17, he writes, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” in response and gratitude for the great mercy of God.
Again, at the end of the letter in 1 Timothy 6:15-16, Paul again expresses praise. Even in the midst of the very practical matters that Paul is writing about, he cannot escape the overwhelming truth and centrality of God. He says, “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”
These examples should serve to remind us who the God we are called to worship truly is, why He is worthy of our worship, and why worship is something we should engage in with our whole being. A true vision of God formed by the truth of Scripture will result in majestic and expressive worship in spirit and truth that happens in a way that engages all of who we are (emotions, intellect, spirit, body) in response to all of who God is.
Are you finding worship to be uninspiring, routine, or redundant? May I suggest you revisit who the God who has made a way for you to be redeemed truly is? Perhaps your vision and understanding of God needs to burst out of the box it’s been placed in and find a new expression capturing the wonder and majesty of the Creator of the universe. Then, together, we can truly express, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
How does God’s Word influence your journey of worship?
(Come back tomorrow for a list of practical suggestions of how to incorporate the Scriptures into a service of worship.)