In our culture, worship is in danger of being viewed as just a thing we do in a building on Sundays, rather than a daily earmark of the Christian life. It seems as if the act of worship has practically become synonymous with only music (i.e., “Worship sounded great today!”)…Worship is so much more than just corporate singing on a Sunday for 20 minutes. It’s vital that we give worship a careful examination in order to fully understand how God intends us to live.
What is Worship?
Our English word “worship” comes from a combination of Hebrew words like âbad, shâchâh, dârash, yârê’ and Greek words like latreia, leitourgia, proskyneō (click on the words for etymology & definition). They provide us with a wide range of meanings that communicate responses in two ways:
- Body language demonstrating respect and submission: to bow, to kneel, to submit, to sing, to prostrate oneself.
- Doing something for God that demonstrates sacrifice and obedience: to offer, to serve, to work, to act.
I love John Piper’s take on what true worship is:
“Through Christ, two things become worshipful sacrifices in our life: the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name; that is, worship services in singing and praying and repenting and confessing, and secondly, the fruit of deeds. Don’t neglect to do good. Share what you have. Such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (What Is Worship? Desiring God, April 2016)
Where Should We Worship?
Worship is intended to be both personal, as well as corporate. God didn’t intend that worship be primarily connected with a place (John 4:21-24), but with the attitude and overflow of our hearts & lives (Deuteronomy 6:5). While the congregational, liturgical approach is essential (Ephesians 5:19), the biblical principles of worship are much deeper and ingrained into the Christian’s daily life.
What we see throughout Scripture are lifestyles of faith that overflow with worship, even in the midst of uncertainty. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Gideon, etc. built altars of worship wherever God led them (Genesis 8:20, Genesis 13:3-4, Genesis 26:25, Judges 6:24, 1 Chronicles 21:26, etc.). They never stopped worshiping!
While our modes of worship today may not include the physical construction of altars of stone, we still have a responsibility to gather up our broken pieces on which to offer our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). May we do this in every season, circumstance and place the Lord leads us!
Let’s reclaim worship as a life full of praise, not just as a genre of music, or a service on Sundays!
Worship Where You Are.
Taylor Agan is the Managing Editor of CentricWorship, a Staff Writer at Centricity Publishing and the Worship Leader at Redemption City Church in Franklin, TN.