Many-a-times I have asked myself this question. What does it mean to worship. I did a quick lookup in a dictionary and in it, to describe what is worship, words like love, admiration and devotion are used. All of these can are very interesting. If you have read my previous posts, you might know my semantic analysis of the different aspects of the subject matter and describing it’s inner working. However, I feel as if I were to do the same to this topic, I wouldn’t be doing justice to it. Such a discussion seems distant from the heart of the matter of worship to me. It would be like saying “I’m having a chemical reaction with you” when you meant, “I love you”. So, in this essay, I would like to talk about things I have learned about worship and going to write down my thoughts as they come to me. I’m not going to review and structure it as I’ve done for my previous posts. There will be no editing, to state the politically correct position. So, there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.
In the first paragraph I mentioned three different aspects of worship. However all of them are interconnected. All of us understand that all too well. So, I’d rather not go into how they are interconnected. Breaking it down in logical steps, to me, seems illogical. But before I begin this, the first question I’d like to ask is, worship who?
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (ESV)
In regards of this article, I’m talking about worshiping God. Now, in the verse that I just quoted, it is said whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. For most part of this article, I’d be dealing with this verse and what it means.
How can we worship God in “whatever we do”? First and foremost, we should obey his commandments. He is not glorified when we sin. Sining is not an act of worship. We do not need to talk about it further.
So what exactly does Paul mean by “whatever we do”? I think he means exactly that. That raises the question, how? How can I do my job for the glory of God? How can I program for the glory of God? The only way I can think of is this: whatever you do, do it for God. I mean, whatever you do, do it as if God had come down to tell you what exactly is it that you need to do(in fact, that did happen). And after you have finished your task he is going to come and evaluate your work. Do it like that. If I were to give my example, I’d say, God has told me to create a website for a certain business and he’s going to check it once I’m done. So, when I’m working on the website, I’m not thinking about the money but I’m thinking about what’s the best way to create this website. I’d like to give my best work to God. So, once you become a christian, you don’t work for your boss, but you work for God. I think that’s what Paul meant.
Another aspect of worship is how we use the gifts God has given to us. God has wired each of us differently. Each of us to play a different task in the church and in this world. For that, he has given us certain talents. These are his gifts to us. If a friend gives you a gift, for example, a table-clock, what would you do with it. Would you throw it away? Or would you put it on your table and use it. If you throw it away right before your friend’s eyes, what will it do for your relationship with him? (God is always watching what you do with the gifts he has given to you). If you keep the table clock on your table and the next time your friend comes and sees you using that table clock as it should be used, he will be delighted. However, if you are using the clock as a paper weight, he will be somewhat offended. In the same way, the gifts that God has given you are to be used in the right way. When we use it the way that they are meant to be used, he is pleased. It’s an act of worship. However if you waste it, you are hurting the relationship between him and you. So, using these gifts in a proper way is also an act of worship.
So when you begin to work with such a mindset, you will start doing your best at everything you do, because you are no longer working for a company or a person but God himself. So, your work quality will improve dramatically. I’ve seen this happen in my life. However, because your work quality improves, sooner or later you will get a promotion or at least a raise. That’s where I think a dangerous trap lie. To keep yourself safe from this trap, you need to cultivate a certain kind of attitude. Let me describe all the possible attitudes with regards of an action or activity.
There are basically 4 kinds of people regards to an activity or action
- People who don’t like to do it and don’t do it
- People who like to do it but don’t do it
- People who don’t like to do it but do it
- People who like to do it and do it.
Without getting into the details about the other 3 kinds of people, let me tell you which kind we want to be. We want to be the last one. Those who worship God because they love to do it. They enjoy it. Now, for the purpose of this discussion I must shed some light on the motives of the kind of person that do things that they don’t like. The third kind.
These people do things for the reward of doing these things. Most commonly, for money. These people loathe their jobs but just because in the end it gives them something that they like/need, they do it. Now, I’m not going to make any judgment of if it is right or wrong. It’s not my place to say it. However, the point I’m making here is that getting material blessings should not be our motive for worshiping God.
Now, back to my point of enjoying worship. There is nothing wrong in enjoying worship. In fact, when you praise a youngster for getting good marks in his/her examination, you also feel a feint spark of happiness if not more. Somebody has said that without praise or worship, joy can not be complete. So, then isn’t enjoying worship the same as praising God for our enjoyment? No. In fact, I’d say such a thing is not even possible. It is more plausible to praise yourself for enjoyment than praising God for enjoyment. However, it’s besides the point. The main question I’m getting at is this: Why do we need to be the fourth kind of people and what’s wrong with the third kind?
The third kind of people, people who praise God for material blessings, for one will be disappointed. And second, their praise is not worship at all. It’s mere flattery. It is not only wrong but in fact, it’s the worst kind of heresy. Thinking you can fool God. There is a difference between flattery and worship.
Now, that we’ve seen one major pitfall, I’d like to give my thoughts a new direction. What is the outcome of this life of worship?
Matthew 12:30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (ESV)
I think that human thoughts and imagination have the greatest potential for fragmentation. I find my thoughts scattered all around. If I were to ask write down every single thought I’ve had in my life, it will be a cohesive volume. However, when I ask myself the question that out of that massive volume, what percentage would be about and for Jesus? I’m not proud to say it, but, very little. That needs to change. A few days ago, I came across a quote…
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
I agree with that. So, if we really want to live a life of worship, it doesn’t start with actions. It must start with our thoughts. Because, an action can have any number of different motives. However, when our thoughts are not scattered, but gathered in Jesus, and our motives realigned for the glory of God, only then it is possible to do everything for the glory of God. And, only that life can be called, “A life of worship”.