This evening I sat with a group of old friends at a bible study, and as my friend played the guitar, we all broke into the three-part harmonies we used to sing together. The lights were down. Our eyes were closed. The world, for just a few minutes, was a universe away. We stood on the floor of His temple and sang to the throne. It was us and God. And it was beautiful.
Usually when we think of Worship, we think about the time of music and singing before the church service. And in many ways, that is a large part of it. Our singing and lifting up of our hands in total surrender to God is an open manifestation of worship to Him.
But really, we refer to the ENTIRE service as a Worship Service, for there are various forms of worship taking place…not just in the singing, but in our tithes, the spoken message, prayer and fellowship. And the WAY we worship through all of these elements has an impact:
1 Corinthians 14:
24 But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25 and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Christianity is unique among the religions of the world. All others will set standards to achieve, or give instructions on the methods to achieve enlightenment, or tell you what you must do in order to be counted worthy of the acceptance of God or their deity or deities.
But Christianity is the only religion where we all congregate together to confirm just how insufficient and unworthy we all are. We talk about our sin and shortcomings and admit that there is nothing we can do. Then we walk out of church with a smile on our faces, for we have just worshiped and sung praises to the God that somehow loves us anyway.
What is it that makes us worship?
We offer up a kind of worship in small forms every day. We give praise to the craftsman for a beautifully carved piece of furniture. We give praise to the artist for a beautiful painting. We praise the musician who performs with such skill and melody that it brings tears to our eyes. We give praise to the writer who links words and phrases together in such a fashion to make the page come alive.
But what is the reason for that praise? We give it especially when we recognize that the talent bestowed by these individuals is so far above our own that we recognize in our hearts that, “You know…I could NEVER do that as well as you.”
We don’t find ourselves praising the artist’s simple picture when we look at it and think, “That’s not special…I could do THAT!”
When we are not impressed…we don’t praise!
But God! A holy God! He is IMPRESSIVE! His craftsmanship is the hills and mountains. His art is the sunset. His music comes from the birds and the waves and the laughter of little children. And his words…they are alive and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, dividing the soul and the spirit, joints and marrow, exposing our innermost thoughts and desires!
As in the passage above, when an unbeliever hears the inspired word of God being taught (that’s what “prophesying” means) by his people, he will be convinced he is a sinner…that he will be judged…and that the secret things in his heart will be made known…
Then when he recognizes his sin…when he understands judgement… but then sees the hope and joy of God’s people, knowing they have been rescued from that judgement by God’s kindness…he will fall down and worship God, acknowledging his presence among those he loves!
A true and genuine heart of worship will always manifest itself when we understand the incredibly huge gap between ourselves…and the God that loves us. And even more so when we realize the great lengths God went to close that gap!
And if THAT is not enough…he changes our insignificance into something more:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
He makes us into his own CHILDREN! Adopted into his family as true heirs to the kingdom, with full rights and privileges!
And with THAT…God closes the gap entirely…the distance between His perfect Holiness, and your imperfect, insignificant self.
And for that goodness, and greatness, and kindness, and love:
We worship Him.