In contemporary churches today, it seems that the word “worship” has become synonymous with music. I suppose that is the downside of moving away from the liturgical style of previous generations. In modern churches, the two words, worship and music, are almost interchangeable.
However, music is only a small portion of true, biblical worship. Everything you do can – and should – be an act of worship, reflecting the process of surrendering your entire life into God’s hands.
Here are some other ways that people can worship if they desire to experience the fullness of worship.
1. Worship through prayer. We often miss this important component of our prayer life. When we pray, it is often a time when we tell God all of the things we need or want Him to do for us. How much of your prayer life is about you and how much of it is about God? Without a doubt God wants us to be able to share everything that is going on in our life, but he also wants us to get to know Him better. When we affirm who God is through our prayers, we put our prayer life in proper perspective. That’s exactly how Jesus taught us to pray. Look at the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Mathew; Jesus starts the prayer off by saying, “Our Father who is in Heaven, May Your name be honored.” (Matthew 6:9-13) Jesus teaches us an important lesson with this prayer. Prayer starts with God. Consider including in your prayers a time of focused attention on who God is.
2. Regularly Read the Bible. The Bible says that we worship God in “spirit and in truth.” How can we ever worship God without a clear understanding of who He is? The truth about God is essential to worship. Pay special attention to the book of Psalms. No book in the Bible spends as much time carefully describing who God is.
3. Obey God. We worship God when we obey Him. We all need to build the habit of obedience into our lives. Take practical steps to see that this is a part of your life. Whenever you sense God is speaking to you, make it a regular practice to respond immediately. Don’t let procrastination weigh you down. If you can’t do it immediately, write down whatever God has been putting on your heart, so that you can do it soon!
4. Tithe. If you want to know what you really worship in your life, look in your checkbook. The Bible teaches us this important lesson: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). God wants us to surrender our entire being to Him. One way to show that is by making Him Lord of our pocketbook.
5. Build deep relationships with other Christians. The Bible teaches that God designed us to live in community with other Christians. We bring God pleasure by getting to know others and being known by them. At Westheights, the primary way we are going to do this is through House Churches.
6. Share your faith. John Piper wrote a few years ago: “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” God wants every person on the planet to worship him – not because He is an egomaniac who needs our praise – but because he designed us with a deep capacity for worship, and we’re meant to worship him. To paraphrase Augustine, our Creator designed us with a God-shaped hole that only he can fill. Take time this week to share your spiritual journey with someone else. Tell them how you came to faith in Christ. Don’t worry about their response. Relax in the knowledge that you are playing a part in expanding God’s world-wide worship.
7. Serve others. Jesus tells us that “when you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did to me!” (Matthew 25:40). When we serve one another, Jesus tells us we are really serving Him. If you don’t think you have any gifts that are useful to serve, you are wrong. God made you with talents and gifts that He specifically gave you to serve others.
8. Build into your life the attitude of thankfulness. This requires looking at the world through a different set of eyes. When we look through the lens of thankfulness, we see our lives – and everything in it – as all gifts from God. Develop your own spiritual exercises each morning that help you put on a lens of thankfulness. Then begin to thank God for all of the good things in your life.
9. Begin turning over to God areas of your life that you have never committed to Him. This is the heart of worship – surrender. God won’t settle for 90 percent of your life; He wants all of it.
You might have been a follower of Jesus for years, but you still have areas of your life that you are holding back from Him. What are those areas? Only you know that. Two good places to look are your checkbook and your planner. Look at the areas of your life where you spend the most money and the most time. Do they honor God? Also, you need to keep your sin list short. Think back over the past month and write down all of the times you remember disobeying a clear teaching from God. Then look for patterns. If you find patterns of sin in your life, these are areas of your life you need to surrender to God.
Remember Worship isn’t simply one area of your life; it is your life. Worship starts the moment we surrender our life and being to God.