Worship is about us.

There, I knew this shocking title would get your attention. Now don’t go getting your Calvinism all revved up, until you’ve read the rest of this post, then you have permission to respond with anything you’d like.

I was challenged by a friend of mine regarding worship songs that focus too much on ourselves. As I chewed on the concept over the last week, I can say I’ve come to some sort of conclusion. Let me first clarify what I mean when I say worship. I mean songs and praises, yes, but I’m also talking the kind of worship that we show with our lives, as a living sacrifice, a Romans 12 kind of worship. From my limited, non-seminary attending knowledge, I can split worship into three different categories. Confirming God’s greatness, sharing God’s greatness, and binding ourselves to God. All of which cannot be practiced without a human heart present in relationship with God, obviously.

The purposes behind every kind of worship is simple at the core: for us to grow closer to God.

no. 1 – worship that affirms God’s greatness and love

Now I don’t by any means believe that God’s greatness needs affirming or confirming, in fact, I believe that God doesn’t need anything more than Himself to sustain Him. He is an innate God and an infallible Being who lives and loves completely within Himself, as explained in the Trinity. Therefore, the need that we find in worship is ours to behold. We’re the ones who need to remind ourselves of God’s greatness. We’re the ones who need to be in a constant position of contriteness and humility before Him. We’re the ones who need to worship Him, because God instilled a desire in us to worship, adore, and sing to Him, therefore we seek to have Him fulfill that need. At some point, every human realizes their deep, natural, created void for the need to worship God. We find that fulfilled and overflowing when we bow down before the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

“My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
     Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.”

-Psalm 57:7-10

no. 2 – worship that shares God’s greatness

Worship is a corporate act at times as well. While God made a man to worship Him, He also made more than one man so that we could worship Him together. We are called to community, unity, and shared experiences.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

-Colossians 3:12-17

Notice that these things listed must be done together. There is no “one man” idea here, but rather a plural, embodied, group working together {sound familiar?} and praising God for His glory. To truly experience this form of worship, we must be a part of church and our community. We must realize that singing and service is not only a way for me to worship God, but a way for us to worship God together.

no. 3 – worship that binds our heart to God’s heart

Then there is my personal favorite part of a healthy worship regimen. Worshipping, in private, on your knees, arms raised, face wet with tears of gratitude and eternal joy, because a synapse has connected in your brain that has revealed another faucet of the greatness of God’s character and you can’t help but adore Him with the every fiber of your body, mind, and soul as you despise your own foolish antics. God doesn’t need us to worship Him so that He can know us better. God doesn’t need us to reveal another part of our souls to Him so that He can make the next move in our lives. No! We’re the ones who need to worship God, because in those moments He reveals another form of His character. We need to worship God because if we don’t the very rocks of creation will cry out against us. We need to worship God because if we don’t, then we don’t matter.

“O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

-Psalm 51:15-17

In conclusion, I’ve realized that the art of worship is {and can only} exist when we are present in our relationship with the Lord. There’s no point to us if God is not present in our lives. He created us to worship Him because He understands that we are nothing without Him. In that way, in His great grace, He gave us the practical, beautiful ability to adore and admire and praise Him through art, music, service, and sharing with one another. In these ways, worship is for us and about our relationship with God, to have the strength to declare His greatness to our worlds, and the tenacity to embrace His purposes with our hands and with our hearts.

To Him be the glory forever and ever! Let it be so.

The next time you’re singing a worship song, remember that it’s not about your performance and it’s not about how it makes you feel. It’s about how great God is and how much we need to worship Him.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Worship is about us.

  1. Recently I was discussing this topic too. I really like what you said and how you formatted this post. Using scriptures, examples of worship songs (great choices by the way) and your own thoughts. If I am honest I completely agree with what you said and you vocalized it so much better. I particularly like the Psalm you shared.
    – Dusty.

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