Seek the Life of a Worshiper
As we start the New Year of 2014 I thought we would continue the series we began back in October entitled Juggling Life's Demands with Grace. Up to this point in the months of October and November we looked at the following topics:
Part 1 - Spend time with Jesus in His Word every day - 10/27
Part 2 - Surrender to the Holy Spirit in prayer each day - 11/10
Part 3 - Cultivate a heart of gratitude and praise - 11/24
I confess I have been putting off writing the next faith lesson because the topic is so huge, so critical to our lives as believers. It seems too much to try and cover it in a weekly blog when I've found myself through the years pouring over the vastness of the subject of Worship in Scripture. And yet as we seek to juggle the demands of life with grace, it is only when we discover what it means to have the heart of a true worshiper of Jesus that we find the true calling of our lives as believers. Everything that we do and all that we are should fall under worship as our first priority. We were created for worship. We are called to worship and glorify God with our lives.
The Father is seeking worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and truth. (John 4:23)
We all worship something or someone. It is our very nature. The question that we must ask is what or whom am I worshipping? What is true worship? What does it look like?
Scripture is clear.
Worship is our adoring response of obedience to God.
The Psalms are rich with the call to worship.
What is it or who is it that you adore?
What captivates you?
What is the essence of beauty to your heart? God calls us to worship Him in the beauty and splendor of His holiness.
"Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
Psalms 29:1-2 NKJV
Worship is about Jesus.
The very word worship in English means to ascribe worth. In Hebrew it means to bow down. In the Greek, there are two words most often used for worship. One is latreuo which means to serve or minister. The other word for worship, proskuneo, means to kiss toward or to bow down. I love the meaning of that word because it draws us to the concept of reverence combined with the intimacy of a kiss. That is our worship of Jesus. He is LORD, Beauty, Holiness to be adored in obedience and reverence. Yet He draws us close in an intimate love relationship. He is not a distant God.
Our worship involves profound humility in the presence of an awesome Creator combined with the tender intimacy of a friend - all made possible by Jesus' death on the cross.
"Worship involves our attitudes (awe, reverence, respect), and actions (bowing, praising, serving). It is both subjective experience and an objective activity. Worship is not an unexpressed feeling, nor is it an empty formality. True worship is balanced and involves the mind, the emotions, and the will. It must be intelligent; it must reach deep within and be motivated by love; and it must lead to obedient actions that glorify God." Warren Wiersbe, Real Worship
Romans 12:1,2 is probably one of the most profound verses on worship in Scripture. In this verse we learn that worship is not something that we do only on Sundays in a corporate gathering, but it is a reflection of our whole lives as an offering - a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
This is our spiritual act of worship.
It is as if we are saying, "Lord, I want to be your instrument of praise played all the moments of my days for your glory." Everything that I do, everything I say and think is to be an expression of my love for Jesus and my worship of Him. It's all only possible because of God's mercy. Worship begins because of God's mercy and God accepts our worship because of His mercy. It's His mercy, His forgiveness and kindness, and because of His sacrifice on the cross that we can even enter into His presence.
"But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple."
But read on... Paul urges us not to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
That's the Word, written and living in our hearts. He doesn't just want to change our behavior. He wants to change the way we think and live.
What you really know by heart is what your heart really knows — and what you really live. The steady beat of His Word is the only thing that gives a strong rhythm to our days. Ann Voskamp
As we study and live out His Word, Jesus becomes more and more the One we adore, the Beautiful, Holy One we worship. He becomes the perfect rhythm that orders our days with grace. We learn to rest in His heartbeat no matter what life's demands may bring on any given day,
and "then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, His good, pleasing and perfect will."
Isn't that what we long for? To be transformed, and know His good, pleasing and perfect will. It begins with mercy and comes as we offer our lives as a living sacrifice --- in worship.
This morning, a dear friend and mentor of mine Vi Atchison went home to live with her Lord in heaven forever. She is rejoicing and worshiping in heaven. I rejoice for her, but can't imagine life in my community of believers without her. Vi is a worshiper. Now she is worshiping at the heavenly throne of Jesus. When I was a young mom she taught me about what a lifestyle of worship looks like. She modeled a life of prayer. She was faithful to pray for me, my children, my husband, our ministry. She taught me the Word in study, but also in how she lived out her life. She sang in our choir for years. Her heart soared with the love of Jesus and when you spent even a few minutes with her, you knew it. His twinkle was in her eyes. She was the fragrance and beauty of Christ to me. She taught me what a godly woman looks like. She sacrificed time and love to teach me simple things a young mom needs to know like how to have a quiet time, good recipes and how to find a bargain. (a very valuable lesson for this woman on a ministry budget with very expensive taste!) She didn't just tell me. She showed me.
Her life was not easy. There were struggles in her family. She lost a daughter and battled cancer for years. Even in her struggle with cancer, she and her husband brought us a meal when my husband Ken was very ill. Her life was the essence of what it means to be a living sacrifice in worship. Her words always pointed me to Jesus, giving Him glory. In our last visit to her home, we had brought her communion because she was bedridden. She was so grateful and shared how she and a friend had often gone to bring communion to others who could not get out or go to church because of their age. She was in her 80's! I went to encourage her and left uplifted by the love of Jesus in her. I'm so grateful for the lessons learned from her life.
These words come to my mind when I think of her….. Forgiveness, grace, joy, love, beauty, worshiper, faithfulness, prayer, delight, humility, perseverance, victory, hope, gratitude, Jesus…..
And so, when we've studied all of our Scriptures on worship and let them take up residence in our hearts and renewed our minds, it's really how we live out our lives in worship that matters.
Does your life leave the fragrance and beauty of Christ lingering where you have been?
Are you willing to offer your body as a living sacrifice of praise and worship when the storms of life rage all around you?
Jesus in His mercy has invited you to come and adore Him. Honor Him with your life. Don’t take His invitation for granted. It is a precious gift from God Himself.
Worship Him with all your heart, soul and mind. Worship Him in the beauty of His holiness today for it is how we will spend eternity. Hallelujah!!!
From the pen of William Temple;
Worship is the submission of all our nature to God;
it is the quickening of conscience by His holiness;
the nourishment of mind with His truth;
the purifying of imagination by His beauty;
the opening of the heart to His love;
the surrender of will to His purpose
….and all of this gathered up in adoration,
the most selfless emotion
of which our nature is capable
and therefore the chief remedy
for that self-centeredness
which is our original sin
and the source of all actual sin.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Seeking to be a true worshiper,
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