This week as I was preaching through Psalm 1, I made the observation that the Psalms are meant to draw us into worship. I defined worship as: Drawing closer to God so that we can see Him as He is in all his beauty and splendor and majesty, then giving Him honor and praise for who He is. I’m certain this isn’t a complete definition, nor the most theological definition, but still I think it helps us to get an idea of what worship should be.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that the chief end of man is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” I tend to think this in itself is a pretty good definition of what worship is. There are many other definitions that I’ve heard for worship: To give weight to, to ascribe worth, to reverence or give adoration…
No matter which definition we like best, there is one commonality I see in them all: Worship works best when God is the object of our worship.
This seems like a “no-brainer” but my experience tells me this isn’t always how we approach worship. So often I see folks, myself included, think of worship as more of a performance than anything else. Now certainly, none of us will say this…but when we take a good look at ourselves in the mirror, I think you’ll see that I might be more right than you or I would like to admit.
I have a group of pastor friends I talk to on a regular basis. We send each other encouraging words and pass along our prayers each Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon and Wednesday nights we will often ask each other how the day went…More times than not, we will discuss how we feel we preached. Instead of focusing on the goodness and graciousness of God…which I know is the message that we’ve preached…we are instead focused on our performances in the pulpits. If there is a technical difficulty in the leading of the worship, or if I forget the words to a song (I’m also my own worship leader) I’ll tend to dwell on it. I pay way more attention to the areas that I feel I messed up, than I do on the God whom I was there to proclaim and worship, and lead my people in worshiping.
This is not how it ought to be.
But I don’t believe this just happens among those in the pulpits. I know, because I’ve been on the other side too. How many times do church goers leave talking more about whether the worship band or choir had a great day(or off day), or how well the preacher did that morning?
Is this really worship? I don’t think so.
Worship is focusing on, rejoicing in, and resting in the one to Whom we came to give our praises to.
Worship is not a performance, and it must never be…or else it ceases to be worship at all.
It doesn’t just happen in church either. We are called to live lives of worship. But how many of us are more focused on our performance or the performance of others than we are on the God for Whom we are to be living our lives for?
There is much more we could say here, but I fear I may go beyond the scope of this blog post, so I will leave us with this…
Worship your God today. Draw near to Him, so that you can see Him as He is. Gaze upon His beauty, be awed by his splendor and majesty…honor Him as best you can. Praise Him for who He is.