Worship is a word whose meaning has been greatly diminished over the years. “Reverent honor or homage paid to God or a sacred personage” is how Dictionary.com defines it. For most believers today, however, it just means singing praise songs. Worship leaders are, by definition, leaders of singing. They will often, to open a set of praise songs, say to those gathered, “Let’s worship the Lord together.”
I can recall one of our worship band members a number of years ago, sharing that she thought she had been worshipping when helping to lead songs, but realized during a mission trip that she wasn’t truly worshipping. In other words, she learned worshipping God involves more than just singing songs of praise to Him.
The Jews and the Samaritans both believed worship was defined by place and ritual, like many today who believe worship takes place in a church building and through singing. Yet, Jesus defined “true worship” as being done “in the Spirit and in truth.” In the Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit and implies a relationship, a connection on a deep level with God. In truth means worshipping with honesty and authenticity of the heart rather than just going through the motions.
True worship then flows from a real relationship with the Lord and a heart that is truly awed by who God is. It indeed can be expressed through singing, but is far from limited to words combined with melodies. We can worship the Lord through reading His Word, through how we conduct ourselves at work or in school, through how we treat our friends or our enemies. We pay honor to God by how we live our lives day to day.
Today, recognize your worship of the Lord is not limited to singing praise songs or hymns on a certain day in a certain place. It is to encompass every aspect of your life. And most importantly, it is to flow out of a real relationship with the living God. Otherwise, it is not truly worship.
© Jim Musser 2017