Some Thoughts on Practical Worship
I can remember that for a large portion of my Christian walk, I believed that worship was a slow song during the “praise and worship” section of our services. I can also remember growing to believe it was more than just a song, it was anything that we did concerning Christ.
So, things like tithe and offering, serving the Church, prayer, reading your word, and so on… You know a bunch of things you can directly connect to your relationship with Christ. Now I have a greater understanding and am still in the learning process of realizing that worship should be a part of every area and every aspect of our lives. It is who we are called to be. The bible tells us that God is looking for worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24 NIV).
It also says that we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - This is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1 NIV). If this is our “true and proper worship”, being living sacrifices, how do we in all practicality live this out. Well, the word of God calls us to Acknowledge the Lord in ALL your ways (Proverbs 3:6), and to do all things as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24). So, I’ll first begin with work.
How do we practically worship the Lord in our work?
For many of us our work may not necessarily be something we love or have great passion for, so we can easily get into a lackadaisical mindset in these types of jobs or careers. To these and even those of us who love what we do (we can have moments like this as well), I must say we have to be intentional about constantly correcting the lens with which we see our work.
Work is another opportunity to worship and give God glory. Yes, there are obvious ways to do that in work, things like sharing the gospel with coworkers, reading your word and praying but even in the physical action of your work you can worship the Lord. Committing to give it your absolute best, being on time, and executing the task given to you to the best of your ability can give God glory because you represent Him. Sometimes you won’t have to say a word.
The life we live and how we interact with those around us can say far more than any words we could intelligently put together. In most of our work places, we must either work with, around, and/or for other people. This creates an even greater opportunity for us to be “Light and Salt” (Matt 5:13-16). As the body of Christ (if you are a Christian) we are called to be different in a way that brings glory to Christ. So, when we have a difficult boss or coworker choosing to pray for them and to work well for/with them, even when they are being mean and possibly unfair (Matt 5:44-48).
Always strive to be kind, faithful, and loving, which can be very hard in these cases, but will cause you to shine a bright light in darkness. This could also begin to draw people to you asking questions such as why are you so nice to them? Or why don’t you pay them back for what they did to you? Which by then if we have been living out our work lives as worship to the Lord the answers to those question will be supported by the life they saw us living and our testimony of Christ will be that much more effective.
How do we practically worship God in play?
I believe the Lord created the earth for us to enjoy and to cultivate. He made us in His image, therefore He knew that we would be creative with the Earth and cultivate it making many awesome things and experiences to enjoy. However, I believe He wants us to enjoy these things through the proper lens. We were made to be in relationship with God and to give Him glory. He deserves it because He is God. So how in play is it that we can give God glory?
If we are in a constant state of gratitude towards the Lord this has a way of correcting our lens even in play. Say you enjoy going to/or watching football games. I would encourage us to take a moment and acknowledge that God has created a human being(s) who had the intelligence and ingenuity to create this game for the enjoyment of others. Not only that, but each one used in this game was created by the Lord, so you don’t have football without God… You don’t have anything without God...
So, when we can get back to the fundamental truth that God created everything and made everything good (when He created it) then we can realize and truly give thanks to the Lord for the awesome enjoyment we can get out of His creation. (Psalms 24:1)
How do we practically worship the Lord daily?
In our lives we do much more than just work and play. We have families and we are a pretty busy people so it’s so easy to fill up time with just being busy. I would venture to say many of us fill up any none scheduled time with stuff like, TV, Social Media, Movies and many other things. None of these things are inherently bad however they take time from us having moments to just listen and to reach out to the Lord. We tend to stay busy and distracted.
Have you realized that many of us can’t even go to the restroom without having our phones or something to occupy those few moments. We have become very distracted and don’t realize that God always wants our attention and our minds on Him, even while on social media or watching TV. The Lord began to show me through prayer, research, and some teachings that our worship is not just something that we do, it is also who we are called to be. We must be intentional about worshipping the lord daily. It does not just happen. When I began to draw closer to the Lord through my worship (Prayer, Bible reading, obedience (not perfection), constant state of gratitude towards the Lord, music….) I found that the sinful cycles in my life began to dissipate.
That’s when I truly realized that the freedom I found to get out of those cycles were not from me trying my best not to sin, but it was in making my worship an intentional action made daily and on purpose. I made it a point to acknowledge God in all things and I tried my best to stay in a consistently gratuitous mindset towards the Lord all day, thanking Him for things very near to my heart like family, to what might seem silly like door knobs…lol…. but what I found was that it left no room for sinful thoughts to stay in my mind.
It does not mean that sinful thoughts did not come however there was no room for them to take root. They would be pushed out by renewing my mind daily through worship (Romans 12:2). Just to be clear, this did not mean that I was without sin because the word tells us if that thought has come into your mind, you have sinned already (Matt 5:28), however, through worship, God has delivered me from sinful cycles that I could not get myself out of and had tried for years. I was focusing on how not to sin when I needed to focus on drawing closer to Christ because that is where you find freedom from sin and shame.
I realized that as I drew closer to the Lord he began to place on my mind that which needed to be dealt with or removed from my life to get a little closer to Him. I also realize the closer I draw to Christ, the more I began to see how awesome He is and just how much of a mess I really am and it’s incredibly humbling. It gives me a greater perspective of His love for me, when I realized someone like Him could love someone like me, an incredible mess of a sinner.
How do we worship in hard times?
I keep going back to having the proper lens because it can really can change how you experience your entire life. When we have what I will call a “God corrected Lens” we find God in all things, and can give God praise for ALL things, because we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
When we live like we know this, we can give praise for hardships in our lives. James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” We know that life comes with ups and downs and many of us have gone through the same things. The interesting thing is many of us, even though we have gone through similar things, have very different experiences.
How you see it can greatly affect how you experience it. I believe worship corrects our lens, so we can see life, family, work, play, and hardships the way God intended for us to see them. Then cause us to truly and intentionally give God glory in each of these areas in our lives.
There is so much more to share as it relates to worship and more to share on each of these questions. I just wanted to share a few thoughts to get started. So, come back for more next time around and I’ll share my thoughts on “Worship in the Family and in Finances” and also when dealing with worship you have to address “Idols.” I’ll share on that as well in the future. Hopefully you have gained something from what you’ve read today, and I pray you come back for more, be blessed!