I read a story once about a sculptor who worked on the decorative elements towards the ceiling of a great cathedral. Someone asked him, “Why are you spending so much time and effort sculpting that one piece, when it’s so high and hidden behind a column barely anyone will be able to see it?”
He responded. “But my Lord will see it.”
For him, his talent and effort spent carving something no one else would see were his worship.
Have you thought worship is only singing praise songs? I thought that for a time in my life too, but I have good news for those who sound like a sandhill crane… it’s so much more.
What is Worship?
The best way I can define worship is, the act of expressing our love for God by surrendering our praise, our wonder, our talents, our time, and our quieted selves, and placing them under God’s authority. Singing worship songs and playing music are acts of worship, and painting can be too, if it’s done as a gift of love surrendered to God, rather than as a form of self-expression. Worship is a way to express your love and submission to the Father.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get in the habit of filling my “abiding time” only with prayer, reading, and journaling—all very important actions—but abiding time should also include a portion of worship.
The Tale of Two Sisters: Mary and Martha
In the familiar story of Mary and Martha, Martha also labored with worshipping Jesus. She was a doer, like me, bent on keeping the balls in the air or snap… snap…snapping… let’s get ‘er done.
When “Marthas” attempt to quiet our minds and reflect on God’s holiness, we sabotage ourselves, thinking about what to cook for dinner or (as in my life—keeping it real), how I can get that mountain of laundry done and write a chapter at the same time. As the minutes of my day tick by, I fidget and become edgy.
But by the looks of things—meaning our culture—God’s got enough Marthas in this world and not enough Marys. If we submit ourselves to becoming a Mary by bending our natural will toward His, we’ll do what needs to be done and bear more fruit in the process.
No one’s naturally born a worshipper like Mary.
So, this is what God’s been putting on my heart…
Take time to worship.
What Happens When We Worship?
1. We express our love and appreciation for God, through praise.
David knew how to praise God; just read some of the passages in Psalms. It’s because of his praise and worship for God he was called “a man after God’s own heart.” (I Samuel 13:14)
As an expression of our love for our Creator, Provider, Healer, our Everything, we should want to worship Him. Think about all that He’s given us, and our minutes of worship seem so puny in comparison, but that’s something we have the ability to give to the Father.
Christ commanded us to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30b (ESV)
I’ve found the more we worship God, as an expression of our love for Him, our love for Him naturally grows. It comes full circle.
2. We realign ourselves under God’s authority.
Throughout our daily lives, we often need a realignment. We tend to take the lead and step into the position God should have in our lives. When we worship, we become realigned under His authority. We remember He is on the throne, and we are not.
3. God removes our complaining spirit.
As we spend time in worship, we become less self-focused and more God-focused. Therefore, we will complain less and become more content no matter what our situation is.
4. We experience a more intimate relationship with the Father.
Those who worship enter into a special relationship with the Father—one in which He shares His secrets. An example of this can be found in the story of Mary and Martha. Mary, being the worshiper, washed Jesus’ feet with her expensive oil, because she knew His time had come to die. How did she know this? Because she had chosen to be in a properly aligned, worshipful relationship with Jesus, God revealed it to her.
5. We become enthusiastic about sharing God’s love with others.
When we submit ourselves in worship to the Father, our desire to tell others about Him and the gospel message grows. We get excited and want others to experience the Father in the same way and we recognize those in our lives who lack this passion. We feel burdened for them to have this relationship as well.
6. We develop our discernment.
Submission to God elevates our discernment. As the Holy Spirit does His work on us, we will have the ability to recognize truth from deception. The more we bathe in the Light, the more we recognize darkness.
7. We develop a desire to serve others.
Our second commandment is to “…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22: 39b) Have you thought about why this commandment is second? Because if we do love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, naturally we will love our neighbors as ourselves. It is an overflow of our love for God.
8. We will be exalted.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 (ESV) The word exalted here means “heightened or raised up.”
In Matthew 23: 12 Jesus points out, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
What is Required Before We Worship God?
1. We must confess any unconfessed sin.
Come before Him with a clean heart and mind.
2. We must have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
If you don’t first: believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repent, and surrender your life to Him… you will be unable to worship in Spirit and Truth.
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 (ESV)
3. We must have a willing and submissive heart.
Where to Begin in Worshipping?
Adding worship to our quiet time may feel awkward at first. Let’s be honest—it’s not something we’ve been programmed to do alone and it’s normally in church pew with music playing, but here are some suggestions that can help us get started.
- Kneel on the floor with eyes closed to help you get away from distractions at your desk, table, or sofa.
- Play a worship song. Sing along with a worship song or pray the lyrics to your Heavenly Father.
- Utilize the words already written, by reading one of David’s praises aloud; try Psalm 111.
- Make a list of the great things God has done in your life and tell Him.
- Serve someone else (in a way that may be uncomfortable for you), as an act of worship.
- Utilize the talents God’s given you, as an act of worship to Him. Pray over your canvas, your writing, your song, asking the Father what He’d like to see you paint, write, or sing.
- Be still and meditate on the sacrifice, resurrection, power, and throne of God.
- Sit outside and praise Him for His marvelous works in creation.
While we enter difficult times ahead, genuine believers will need to have a heart of praise to be a light in a dark world. Are you willing to submit yourself to the act of worship?
Picture Credit: palidachan/ iStock photos
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House and host of The Hallelujah House podcast. A native of the Tidewater area of Virginia, she now resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband Jay and their four children ages 23 to 7.