What does it mean to worship God?
The Oxford dictionary defines worship as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”
Yes, we sing praises to him, we admire his creation, we’re grateful for our blessings. The psalmist urges us to recognize God for who he is:
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; (Psalm 95:1-6 NIV).
We see that form of worship in corporate settings, but God is also personal. He reveals himself not only through nature but also through his people. And he made each of us unique right down to our thumbprints.
But worship can be more than skyward eyes, raised hands, and recited words. And it’s more than a feeling.
Worship at deeper level
What does worship look like for the individual apart from praise music, hands raised, shouts of adulation, or bent knees, where the counterfeit and the sincere appear as one and the same? How is worship manifested in daily life, whether in the workplace, at school, or in the public square—when there’s no apparent audience to see the display?
In John 4:23. Jesus said that true worshippers worship God “in Spirit and truth.” Spirit suggests a genuine connection to the Power Source. Truth denotes authenticity.
Deeper worship emanates from a state of being—how we act, how we carry ourselves, how we view things. Worship is our posture toward our Creator, the joy that spills into our daily lives. There’s no hiding or faking it—it simply happens because of who we have become with God’s Spirit living inside us.
Passionate worship shines brightest when we invest ourselves wholeheartedly in the personality, interests, and talents that God bestowed in us. Maximizing worship requires that we recognize our calling, pore our giftedness into it, and do it in a fashion that returns glory to God, not us. Excellence in our pursuits, with humility, illuminates the One who made them possible. The result of our labor is a living sacrifice of praise to God (Romans 12:1/Hebrews 13:15) “heard” only through observation.
People are watching, sometimes when we least expect it. When they see a relationship with the Creator that is brimming with fruitfulness, they smell the “fragrance of Christ.” Life has become a delightful work of art, laid down with love on an otherwise empty canvas.
How do you worship God?
If you’re a good cook, are you making the best dishes possible, as if serving them to Jesus himself? Is the carpenter in you building things with quality and appeal that cause people to take note? Gifted teachers, are you preparing as if presenting to a thousand people not only twenty? For those in business, are your practices above reproach? And are your services exceeding expectations? Caring about the results of your labor will honor the teaching: To whom much is given, much is required.
If you can’t muster the energy for excellence in your pursuits, perhaps it’s time to dig deeper in search of your true calling. Your Creator will love you no matter what, but he made you for a reason. Empty yourself before him so that he can fill you to overflowing with passion tailored to your unique giftedness. Then, people will take note. The joy of your salvation will kick up a notch as you return glory to him.