Many “born-and-raised-in-Church” Christians that have been or are involved in the activities of Church leadership have very little or no understanding of “true” worship. In fact, often the prevailing correlation is that the more experience one has with Church service, the less likely one is pursue “true” worship at the exclusion of all other types.
What is “True” Worship?
True worship is the response of a grateful human heart to a Divine God. However, all worship isn’t “true” worship.
The Bible describes four different types of worship:
Ignorant worship Act 17:22-31 – (v. 23 – For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you).
In the narrative, as Apostle Paul enters the city of Athens, a major center of philosophy, architecture, and art, he encounters various idols that the Athenians routinely worship; one is marked “the unknown God.”
Ignorant worship is any worship that loses sight of God as the source of all that is good and perfect. It is based upon superstition, tradition and the imagination of men, not on revelation from God.
Vain worship – Matthew 15:7-9 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 – ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (v 9) And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
Vain worship focuses ” Relies on traditions of men. Common symptoms –FOCUS is on- Money, Appearance, Numbers, Performance, Building, Music’s emotional impact, rituals (standing or Sitting), Talent, etc –
Will worship – context (Col 2:23) – Paul is teaching the church that rules and requirements don’t make a Christian; we are disciplined in our living because we are transformed through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in operation in our lives…
(MSG) “Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.”
Will worship seeks to impose a “cultish” mindset and structure on the lives of God’s people;
Will worship lacks humility and operates in arrogance; (In 1 Kgs. 14:16, we see the self-inflated attitude of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who devised a worship format “of his own heart” through which he “made Israel to sin”).
Will worship often presents itself as “deep” (reminiscent of those days of Israel’s judges when every man did what was right “in his own eyes” – Judg. 17:6)
True worship – John 4:23-24
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Worship transcends our proclivities regarding culture, style, generation, denomination, music, etc. Worship is our “life response” to our God —Creator, Sustainer; our Jesus—Lord and risen Savior; and Holy Spirit—our comforter and guide.
There are (at least three) pivotal questions that we must answer in our daily lives, weekly services and yearly worship celebrations:
How does what we do exemplify (do) and teach others (disciple) “true” worship?
How are the basic principles of “true” worship intentionally modeled in our ministry leadership?
What are we doing to educate the current culture and pass on a healthy culture of worship?