Whether we recognize it or not, all of us — everyone in the world — is a worshipper. For worship has to do with assigning worth to that which defines the focus and direction of our lives. Worship is really, “worthship.” The truth is that we all live, more or less, by what we worship — in what we delight. Our ultimate delight determines the motivation of our lives.
Since, according to the Bible (i.e. Romans 3:23), we are all born with a disposition that is not naturally inclined toward God, our worship consists largely of being preoccupied with ourselves. Or we may devise ways of trying to relate to our Creator by our own means. In that case we find substitutes for God and worship accordingly. That is the simple explanation behind the existence of so many different religions. All of them are attempts at worship, but miss the mark because they don’t fit the way God has designed worship.
In John 4:23 and 24, Jesus said that God is looking for people who worship the Father in spirit and truth. Since God is Spirit, He looks for spiritual worship. True worship, then, is a spiritual exercise (aided by the Spirit of God), but also in accord with truth concerning the nature of God. Since God is holy (without even any hint of sin), our worship is only satisfying (to Him and to us) if it is in accord with His truth. Through the New Testament, we come to realize that acceptable worship to God is that which is offered from the heart in response to what has been made known to us concerning Jesus Christ. We worship in spirit and truth when we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds in line with His will as made known in His Word. It is then we are also assisted in worship by God’s Spirit. So true worship is very much a spiritual experience.
There are many ways to authentically worship God involving these two dimensions — spirit and truth. We can worship continuously through our thoughts, our conversations, and our work — whatever it may be. But we also recognize that there is a time for focussed worship — when we take time to express personal devotion to God or to do this in concert with other Christians (as in the weekly gathering for worship).
One of the best and most important elements of my daily life is a time for personal worship. Usually this consists of a significant portion of time at the beginning of each day (about an hour), spent in prayer, in reading and meditating on a short section of Scripture, and some more prayer. It’s a time of intimate communion with God based on the truths found in the Bible. (My Bible reading usually follows a pattern of chapter sequence on consecutive days — until I eventually read through the entire Bible. But I take my time, meditating much on each chapter.) Prayer follows a sequence too of praise, thanksgiving, confession of any known sin, and then petition for various matters in the lives of others as well as my own.
Sometimes, I am assisted in my personal worship through music. Recently, I discovered the beautiful worship ministry of Chris Bowater. He is a British Christian songwriter and worship leader, who also is a Senior Pastor of New Life Church Ministries in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England. In getting to know him, I have been deeply impressed with the way he is able to lead in worship, sensitively bringing the participant into a genuine experience of worship.
For a sample of Chris’s work, just click on one of these songs on YouTube which he has written and uses to assist others in true worship:
- Faithful God
- How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds
- Make Me Lord a Dreamer for Your Kingdom
- In Your Presence I Am Content
If you enjoy Chris’s songs, you will likely also enjoy this interview in which you come to understand better how he thinks about worship, as well as how he writes his worship songs.
You and I were made for true worship. Once discovered, you will agree that there is nothing like it in the whole world. Enjoy. “Delight yourself in the Lord…” (Psalm 37:4).