I like church music. Really I do. But I have a problem, especially with worship leaders in our modern-day church. Their music is quite beautiful but it is a certain ideology they carry and propagate that I have an issue with.
A typical worship leader after being called to minister would take the altar (or podium as the case may be) and lead the people of God in songs of worship and praise. But before then, they close their eyes and say quite seriously, “Let’s be in the mood of worship.”
At this stage, I am forced to pause and wonder one of two things:
1. Is worship a mood?
2. What ‘mood’ was I before now?
As with most of the church slangs we have become accustomed to, this is quite honestly an outright lie. It is deceit, a very subtle falsehood that has infiltrated our gospel. Agreeably, most of us do this unwittingly. But that is the key the devil uses.
Let me at this stage state very plainly: WORSHIP IS NOT A MOOD.
Having said that, let’s see for ourselves what worship actually is.
The English dictionary offers some help in understanding what the word worship means, and this it does in several definitions, some of the words used include: adoration, devotion, honour.
It is a complete dedication to and absorption of something. It is adoration that is laden with so much respect. It is an awe, a wonder at something/someone. Worship is a deep sense of reverence and honour.
Whichever way you may choose to describe worship, you cannot exclude the sense of deep love and dedication that is attached to it.
The scripture offers us an insight into what worship actually is:
“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”(Romans 12:1 – RSV; emphasis mine).
This was a direct plea by the Apostle Paul to believers, a call to worship, a call to offer up our bodies, the totality of their being (as the body houses everything that a person is) to God as a sacrifice. A spiritual worship.
A survey of the Old Testament especially the Law shows how God instructed the children of Israel to offer up sacrifice. The sacrifice was usually one ‘without blemish or wrinkle’. It would be an animal that would be very carefully selected to be presented as sacrifice; an act of worship. This meant that not just any animal could be used just for the sake of being an animal. No. God had specifications. Yet, this refers to a mode.
What then is worship?
Worship is a life. Worship is a life totally dedicated to God. A life that adores and honours God, within and outside the church walls. A life that loves God, whether they are ‘in the mood’ or not. And even if it will be a mood, it should be an every second mood. It is not a feeling. It is the totality of all we were designed for.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 – KJV. Emphasis mine)
The truth is, we were created for worship. You were created for His pleasure. Not yours. Let this sink in. Let it saturate every fragment of your being.
You were created to give God pleasure. You were made for more than sitting in the pew or raising your hands in ‘worship’. You were made for more than the ‘worship service’ (Don’t be mistaken, these things are an ESSENTIAL part of worship). God is not just the God of the Church. He is the God of the Church and the God of the whole world. He is Almighty. We cannot contain or confine Him to the church walls or our life-long theologies. Therefore, we cannot confine our worship of the Almighty to the Church walls or a certain time when we enter the ‘mood’.
He is the God of your home, your business, your school, your street, your office. He is the God of the food you eat, the God of the friends you have. He is all. He contains all. Therefore you should worship Him in your home, your street, your office, in the mall, on the street, in dark alleys, on the mountain top. Your worship should be the totality of your being.
This is true, theoretically. But what does this mean practically? You ask. I’ll tell you.
It means taking your love and dedication for God and pouring it over all that you do. Whether you are eating, sleeping, reading, working, walking, teaching or praying. It means giving Him your all. It means aching and working to see His glory revealed in everything you do, even and especially our ‘secular’ work and lives. It means loving and serving the people He made, because worship is service. Worship is giving. Worship is taking out time to gaze upon His countenance, to fellowship and commune with the One who made you. Worship is dying to yourself, denying yourself so that Christ’s glorious light may shine through you.
Our worship should stop being a mechanical religion that exalts the creation more than the creator. Our worship should stop being with lips and vain words that have nothing to do with what is really contained in our heart.
“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13 – NIV).
Our worship should stop sitting between the altar and the door of the sanctuary. It should begin to move its feet into the world. It should begin to go outside a moment of adoration. Our worship should be born of a pure heart and a faith that stands before the creator with surrender. Our worship should and must of a certainty be in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24 ) if it will ever be accepted.
The beautiful thing about worship is that any believer is capable of offering worship. The moment Christ died and the veil between the outer court and the holies of holies was torn, we became qualified to offer an everlastingly pleasing worship to God even in the seemingly little things. But like any other thing with God, it is a choice. You have to choose to worship. Choose worship therefore, and choose life. After all, after all God has done for you, in view of all His mercies and loving kindness, is this too much to ask of you?
Is it a price more expensive than the sight of the maker of the universe, stretched on the cross, bleeding and broken on a wooden cross for you? Is it more than His amazingly great grace? Is it greater than the riches and victory He purchased for you in resurrection?
Worship is not a mood. And it is beyond a mode or a song. Worship is a life.
The Message translation sums this all up nicely:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (Romans 12:1 – The Message).