Worship Isn’t about Music
August 23, 2016
I’ll never forget my Sunday school teacher telling us we’ll spend all eternity worshiping God. The glee on her face wasn’t replicated by the room of 7-year-old kids who just wanted to play ball.
“You mean, like, singing?” I asked. “Yes!” she exclaimed with joy. “We’re going to praise God forever.” I nodded with compliance, but I couldn’t help but think that this sounded more like hell than heaven.
Indeed, I do believe we were created for worship. But I really hope that doesn’t just mean an ongoing worship service. That may be fun for 20 minutes or so—an hour at best—but what are we to do with the other 10,080 minutes in the week? If worship is what we’re created for, then we are certainly not just called to do it for a few minutes on Sunday morning.
At its core, worship is accrediting worth to God. And there are actually many different ways we should worship God:
Worship Through Obedience
If God is Creator and we are created, then He knows what’s best for us. And if He knows what’s best, then it doesn’t credit any worth to God when we say, “Thanks for the advice, God, but I got this one. I actually figured out a better way.”
Obedience to God accredits worth to God. As with singing, heartfelt obedience is the goal; the joyful stuff that flows from within, delighting in doing God’s will. God tells Israel: “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart ... therefore you shall serve your enemies” (Deuteronomy 28:47-48). Israel was punished for not serving God with joy.
We worship God when we work in such a way that showcases His character and glory.
But what about those times when you don’t feel like obeying? We all have those moments. I know God is good, I know I should obey Him, and I know sin will only bring temporary pleasure but will bite me in the end. So why do I do it? Why don’t I desire to obey God more often?
I don’t know if I have a good answer to this other than our sinful nature sometimes smothers our desire for God. But we still need to obey Him—even when we don’t feel like it. We are to love, to serve, to forgive the one who wrongs us over and over. Don’t wait for the feeling to come upon you. Maybe it never will. But sometimes—and here’s the key—joy follows an act of obedience, even if it doesn’t precede it.
Worship Through Work
God created us to work. It was the first command He gave humankind: “Let them have dominion” over the earth (Genesis 1:26). Having dominion over the earth is the umbrella concept for all that we do, including our work. But work was never designed to be a joyless burden.
We worship God when we work in such a way that showcases His character and glory. This means our work should be filled with integrity and faithfulness. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
The hardworking, submissive, joyful, and creative worker, who works with a knee bowed to his Creator, attributes much worth to God.
Worship through Creating
God didn’t form us in His image so that we would become robots—mindless agents of production. In an age that worships achievement and productivity, we need to remember that God made us to be creative and not just productive. (The two are not mutually exclusive, of course.) God. God is creative; it’s fundamental to who He is. So we also, as image bearers, are creative. It’s the way God wired us. When we create, we reflect God—and therefore accredit much worth to Him.
God is creative; it’s fundamental to who He is. So we also, as image bearers, are creative. When we create, we reflect God.
Worshipping through creativity extends to all areas of life, and I’m convinced we are all creative by nature. Being creative is much more than just producing artwork. It extends to any area of life where you take a piece of creation and make it better or more beautiful. Working with wood, working with cars, working with words—all of these are only possible because we possess God’s image and are therefore creative.
Don’t take a break from worship to be creative. Worship God by being creative.
Worship through Play
Are you capturing the vision? Can you see the snowball rolling? Once you understand what worship is, you can quickly fill up those 10,080 minutes in the week with pleasurable acts of worship. Even sports, hobbies, exercise, or just laughing with your friends can be an avenue of accrediting worth to God.
Take laughing, for instance. Have you ever thought of laughing as a spiritual activity? Of course, it depends on what it is that made you laugh. There are plenty of sinful things that could cause someone to crack up. But laughter itself is a good thing. Not just a neutral thing—neither wrong nor right—but an actual reflection of God.
Think about it. Laughing is good for you. The mental and physiological benefits of laughing are well-documented. Laughing lowers anxiety, relieves depression and can even lengthen one’s life. Laughing is part of God’s creation—which was deemed “good” several times in Genesis—and is therefore created for a reason. Laughter brings worth to God by enjoying His gift.
And that applies to all areas of life. God wants us to enjoy His gift of creation, and when we enjoy it the right way, we give worth to our Creator.
God designed us to run, swim, hike, work, eat, sing, write, draw, laugh. These are gifts given to us. When we don’t use them (in as much as we can), we fail to give worth to our Creator. When we use them, and enjoy using them, we proclaim to the world, ourselves and to God that He really is the good Father He says He is. But we must use them in the way that He designed them to be used. Otherwise, these good gifts can steal our joy and destroy our soul. Worst of all, we’ll fail to accredit worth to our Creator.
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