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The Heart of Worship

What is your main act of worship?

To get to the very heart of worship we need to understand the very heart of God. What does He want from us? This is simple and familiar:

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:   "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"  Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:34-38)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.(Romans 12:1)

These may seem to be cherry-picked verses, but there are many others that I could have chosen that support the theme that God wants us to love Him and use all that He has given us, in worship back to Him. Instead the institutional Church, in its Greek thought-patterns, has transformed “worship” from a verb (a doing) into a noun (a thing). Or, more specifically, from a function to a form. Worship has become a packaged entity, even existing as a genre of music that’s available as downloads or on metal discs.

 … Now let’s move into a time of worship …

Eh, aren’t we already worshipping God? Is God just sitting there waiting for that first guitar chord to be struck, so that He can relax in the warm glow of receiving worship from a collection of vibrating tonsils?

There’s no doubt that worship leaders and songwriters have the best of intentions and are using their God-given gifts, but the problem is in the whole concept of considering “worship” as an entity, divorced from the One Who is to be worshipped. It is form replacing function. The function should always centre on God Himself and consider what He asks of us in our worship to Him.

To love Him and use our mind, body and soul in worshipping Him.

This is not only about singing choruses, though, of course, that is one expression of worship, if done properly with the best of intentions. But it’s not the only expression.

Worship leaders perform their acts of worship through the writing and performing of songs that draw their hearts toward God. By doing so they are fulfilling the criteria just mentioned. Those who listen and are moved by these songs, are also sharing in this experience, but for these people, and for others who don’t totally share in this particular experience, God is happy for them to worship in other ways.

… use our mind, body and soul in worshipping Him.

We weren’t created just to be able to sing. We can also speak, read, study, argue, write, create works of art, build things, organise others, help others, clean a room, wash dishes … the list, of course, is endless.

For me, my main act of worship is what I’m doing right now (in my time frame, not yours). I’m writing these words which, for me, is a fulfilment of a pledge I made many years ago to God. As a writer, my career could have gone in all sorts of directions, but there was a point in time when I decided, as my act of worship, to direct all of my God-given talent back to the Giver of the talent. For me, writing is an act of worship. For you, perhaps you have made a similar promise concerning the talents you have been given, or perhaps you are still praying for a talent in the first place that you can return to the Creator with interest? We all have something of value, even if the World (or even the Church) doesn’t recognise it as such, maybe because it doesn’t fit in the usual grand mould of giftings. Your task is to identify it and offer it back to Him as your act of worship. Nothing is too little, or insignificant, as long as it is done with a willing heart.

… use our mind, body and soul in worshipping Him.

So, we need a wider concept of worship, a holistic approach which involves us giving back to the One who Created us. And it is different for each of us, because we are all uniquely different. Praise God!

This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp

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