We are made to worship God
We have been created with a capacity to worship since the purpose of our existence is to glorify God. More often than not, our natural tendency is to worship ourselves or whatever person or interest that presides over our lives and consumes our thoughts, ambitions or aspirations. Whatever is most important in our lives is inevitably that which we praise, adore, extol and worship.
Worship is ubiquitous
Worshipping God is directed to Him and praise is about Him. We have an innate capacity to praise as well as worship, and it is something seemingly hard wired into us, which we find ourselves doing. Can you remember the last time you commented that it was ‘a lovely day or a beautiful morning’? The reality of the situation was that God has created the world we reside in and we are enjoying the benefits of that! God’s name should be praised from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same for who He is, what He has done and what He has made.
Sport and music and caring for the environment have their place and can be enjoyed to the glory of God hence the following examples serve to illustrate the ubiquitous desire to worship someone or something. Adoring fans make their preparations early and plan their day in advance so that they can enjoy the best experience and make the most of it. Football supporters often meet with their friends before the match, study the programme and sing songs of adoration and wave their arms enthusiastically for their beloved teams. Music lovers listen to the support band as a warm- up to the main feature. They find the collective gathering and atmosphere electrifying. Some who appreciate the beauty of God’s creation go the extra mile in cleaning up the mess and pollution others have made and are eager to protect ecosystems and admire the beauty of God’s handiwork, though seldom thank Him for it.
Worship speaks of worth and value
Why did the wise men journey several hundred miles across difficult terrain and potential peril from those who would like to steal their gifts for themselves, arriving at tiny Bethlehem Ephrathah, five miles South of Jerusalem? Surely Jerusalem would provide a more captivating experience…
They had seen His star and had come to worship Him. Also, Scripture foretold the humble birthplace of our Lord and Messiah. Why did they bring gifts? The effort and cost they made to deliver them, demonstrated how they valued Jesus their Messiah and indicated who He was. Worship relates to ‘worth ship’. In other words, the degree to which you value something or someone. When all things are considered, that which you worship the most is beyond price; it is priceless. His name would be called ‘Immanuel’, ‘God with us’. Having Him present with us by His Holy Spirit is of inestimable value. Do we desire His presence or just His presents? Are we seeking the gifts or the Giver? Are we committed to ourselves or to worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth?
The gifts spoke for themselves in a prophetic sense. Gold for the King, frankincense for the High Priest and prayer and myrrh for the burial of the Saviour. The application is apparent; do we honour the Lord as the King and our King, approach and reverence Him as our High Priest and remember and trust in Him as our Saviour?
The shepherds glorified and praised God for the things they had seen and heard. They were watching over their flocks which would provide their livelihood. Their flocks would need protection from the elements and from predators. They made haste and quickly travelled to see the Good Shepherd. Clearly, the Chief Shepherd of their souls was more important to them than their means of making a living. Is the same true of us?
Godly worship is not about us and is not a performance
The same applies to spiritual matters. Do we enjoy singing carols, studying God’s word, proclaiming Him through preaching and worshipping God? If we do then that is to the glory of God though if we don’t; we should remember that we shouldn’t worship our experience of worship, but the God who created us to worship Him. Though the Psalmist wrote of skilfully playing instruments to the Lord (Psalm 33:3) and practising itself is an act of worship since it glorifies God and encourages others to worship Him, worship is to be directed to God and is not a performance.
A multitude of angels praised God saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men (Luke 2:14)!”Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been there? Would we have been onlookers merely ‘assessing’ the ‘quality of the worship’ by the ‘standards’ of contemporary secular performers, or instead be fully given to worshipping and adoring the new- born King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
We are God’s workmanship made by Him and for Him. We are made to know, Him, enjoy Him and glorify Him. Worship of our Creator and Lord can be a tremendous collective experience in meetings where the Bible is read and the gospel is preached, prayers proclaim His attributes, holiness and unchanging character and His mighty works and deeds. It can comprise fellowship with just a few, or involve being alone and down on our knees in prayer and praise, meditating on Him and His Word to the praise of His glory. Worship is exemplified in a godly lifestyle as a living sacrifice unto Him. Worship is about how we value the Lord and come before His presence and serve Him in all our ways.