This is a article I wrote a few years back about what worship means to me and how do we live it out. So here you go!!!
What Does Worship Mean to Me
And How Do I Live This Out Personally and Corporately
By Chris Deming
Worship Starts In Our Personal Lives
Something stirs inside of me as I begin to think about what worship really means to me. To live a true life of worship is my goal, and expressing it through music is my passion. But just as a car is a means of transportation to a destination, music is only a vehicle to the presence of God and is not worship itself. Worship is not only the beautiful corporate worship that we all love to experience every time we gather together with fellow believers, but it also has to be carried out in our daily lives. Worship must start in our personal times, and not just be something that we do corporately. Worship needs to be an expression of reverence to an almighty God and our response to both the good and the bad in our lives. Worship is a way of showing our obedience and trust to a God that, as Romans 8:28 says “…works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
We Were Made to Worship
By looking at the people around us in this world, we can easily see that we have been created to worship. C.S. Lewis once wrote “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” Worship is a natural response to seeing God and His glory. Worship is what we were made for. We see people live every day sacrificing time, energy, money, and essentially their lives to worship things that they desire and have a passion to achieve. Our western culture tells us that we should have the very best, and that we should get what we want. But as we look to the Bible, it tells us differently. What we deserve is the outcome of our sin. What we deserve is death. It is only by what Jesus Christ did on the cross, by His mercy, His grace, and His pure and passionate love towards us that we can receive what He has for us. Hebrews 10:19-22 says “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” What a beautiful invitation. What makes it so beautiful is that we don’t deserve any of it. His love is so great that He calls us into His Holy Place. He invites us to draw near to Him and be washed with pure water. He is giving us His very best, which is more than we can imagine. Worship is giving back to God our very best. Returning a love and adoration that we were created to give. Worship is an act of obedience to God, and living in obedience to Him is the only way that we can find true fulfillment in this life. We were made for this reason, we were created for worship, and we were made to need Him.
Worship Starts With a Revelation of God
Worship starts with a revelation of God, and without this revelation, no true worship can take place. We must get a revelation of what God has done for us and what He has given us. We must learn to know who He is, and learn who we are in Him. We must know that God is bigger than our current perception of Him, and that His ways are not our ways. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” The more that we study, listen, and obey; the more we can worship. Just like any relationship, it takes getting to know someone to build a relationship. The same goes with God. We can only worship Him as much as we know Him, and our relationship with Him will never grow beyond our revelation of Him. We must strive and seek new revelation of God so that we won’t just be singing to a religious idea, but we will be praising the love of our lives. We need to live lives of worship and in turn, see God reveal Himself throughout our lives. He created us to love us, and we were created to worship and return that love. We can see that creation is one giant act of love, and throughout time He continues to show us and display His love for us. It started with creation, but He even allowed His son Jesus to die on a cross as an even greater expression of His love for us. He allowed His son to die on that cross to give the world hope and express His love to us in an even greater way. We must seek new revelations of God and with every glimpse, allow ourselves to fall more and more in love with Him.
Worship demands a response
As we study worship, we can easily see that it demands a response. It is meant to be a life-changing event, an encounter with God. We cannot truly walk into the presence of God and turn away unchanged. It demands a response in our personal lives. It calls us to change. Sometimes we make it so hard to allow God to work through our lives. Always wondering how do we do it, and what can we do. But in reality it’s not as much about what we can do, but more about what we are not able to do. We simple need to submit and let God work through us. We need to lay down our burdens and allow God to move freely in our lives. His grace is sufficient for the heart that is wholly His.
I think a great way of looking at worship is ‘worth-ship’. We must display His worth to the world with our lives. Worship is sacrificing our lives because we believe that God is worth it, that He is worthy of our praise. And since He is worthy, we must respond to Him with worship. I love the verse that Loui Giglio and the Passion movement use often, Isaiah 26:8 says "Yes Lord, walking in the way of Your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and renown are the desire of our souls.” This should be our response to worship. That His name and renown would be the desire of our souls, that we would reflect His light to the world. Think about the moon. The moon is a lifeless mass, dark and unnoticeable without the reflection of the sun. When the moon is facing the world it gives no light and can barely be seen by the earth. But when the moon is facing the sun, it shines brightly reflecting the sun and giving light to the world. Our lives are very similar. We must be facing God and receiving His light before we can ever reflect His light into the world. We have to position ourselves in Gods obedience so that we can be a light that shines even in the darkest of nights. We must make our worship more than just songs that can be heard in our churches. We must make worship a song that can be heard in this world. There is a saying that says “if our church has four walls, then we will need four walls whenever we want church.” But as we know, we are the church, and the church needs to be where we are. Jesus didn’t call us to take the gospel to the farthest corners of our church buildings. He tells us to take the gospel to the farthest corners of the world. The same goes for our worship. If our worship is made up of sheet music and instruments, we will need sheet music and instruments to worship. God gave us music and instruments to worship Him in a certain way, but we must learn to worship Him with our attitudes and actions. As I said earlier, music is simply a vehicle to the presence of God, but it is not worship itself. Worship is a life style and a relationship. It is a response to a call on our lives. We are called to live a life of worship outside the church, just as we are called to be the church outside the walls of the building. We cannot be so dependent on loud worship and powerful church services that we forget how to worship in the silence of our closets where nobody is watching. It doesn’t matter who is beside us, or who is around us. It matters who is inside of us. It doesn’t matter if people are listening and watching. It matters if the Lord God almighty can hear us and hear the cry of our hearts to Him. We can’t just imagine a dead Jesus hanging on the cross, we must see and know the living Jesus in our lives and in the lives of the people around us. We must respond to this invitation of worship and make it a daily part of our lives.
Worship must be Christ Centered
A simple thing that I have been thinking about recently is that God must be the center of our worship. It seems so silly to have to say it, but too many times I have pushed God aside in my worship and allowed other things to come first. Corporately I allow things like the quality of the music, and the response of the crowd to become my focus. These things are not bad, but when they start to come before God there needs to be a change. If we are just leading people into a great time of music, that’s called a concert. But worship is when we are leading people into the presence of God. The same goes in our own lives. God needs to be first in our lives of worship. Too many times we make decisions based on our own desires and pleasures when we need to “delight [ourselves] in the LORD, and He shall give [us] the desires of [our] hearts. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:4,5). Worship puts God first, trusting that He really does want the best for us, that all these trials are building our character, and that all these sacrifices are for our own good. Worship is living a life that asks God for more. Living a life that goes to the extreme to find this mystery. Believing that if this is real, if God is who He says He is, then we need to give up everything to follow Him. C.S. Lewis said that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” We cannot allow ourselves to live so close to the world that it is almost a convenience to fall into to it. We must continually seek His truth and challenge ourselves to go further. Stepping away from the world and moving closer and closer to Him.
I have had the opportunity to lead worship in large congregations, with people living in trash dumps, orphanages, small churches throughout the world, and in my own personal times in the beauty of Gods creation. But in all of this, God is continually revealing to me that worship is not something that should be confined to our personal lives, or confined to a particular church, language, or country. But it is something that He desires for the entire world to do. He calls us to be “one in spirit and purpose” (Phil 2:2). That should be the goal of our lives, that we will be contagious with our worship and make the realm of heaven known as a reality here on this earth. It is a fact that wind blows to the place of least resistance, and I want my life to be a place where the spirit of God blows. I want my life to create an atmosphere of worship, inviting to earth the very presence of God.