Worship the Way God Intends
- Friday, December 30, 2011
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Nelson Searcy, Jason Hatley, & Jennifer Dykes Henson's book, Revolve: A New Way to See Worship, (Baker Books, 2011).
If the time you spend in worship each weekend at church seems like it’s missing something, you may not be worshiping the way God wants you to worship. No, that doesn’t mean that God prescribes just one form of prayer that you’re not using, or a certain style of music that you’re not singing. When your worship seems incomplete, your entire approach to worship may be off.
True worship – which is always fulfilling – revolves around God, not your own expectations. Feeling disappointed by your worship experiences is a signal that you need to learn how to approach worship from the perspective God wants you to have, so you can worship the way God intends:
Debunk the myth that worship is all about you. Worship is all about God, not you. So instead of asking what you can get out of worship personally, ask what you can give to God through worship. Rather than being concerned about whether or not worship meets your expectations (from exciting music to warm feelings), focus on how you can bring honor and glory to God as you worship. If you approach worship by asking God what He has for you in your worship experience, you may not be satisfied. But if you approach worship looking for opportunities to encounter God and praise Him, you’ll be fulfilled in the process.
Debunk the myth that happens just one day a week. Worship isn’t just an event that you attend, like a concert. God intends for worship to be a lifestyle, in which you consistently connect with Him. Beyond your church’s weekly worship service, you can keep worshiping God – at all times, and in all situations. Stop thinking of worship as just an event that you passively attend, and start thinking of worship as an ongoing process in which you actively pursue a closer relationship with God and express your love for Him. When you’re not at church, use spiritual disciplines (such as prayer and Bible reading, meditation, and study) to help you worship God. Also, use your relationships with other people to worship God by sharing your faith with them and serving them in the ways God leads you to reach out to help meet their needs. As you go through the mundane moments of each day, pray for the discernment you need to notice God’s presence with you and the many blessings He has given you. Then thank God and praise Him whenever you have an opportunity to do so. In that way, you can worship throughout each day. When you’re facing challenging or difficult circumstances, you can worship God by praying brief prayers asking for God’s help and expressing your trust in His care for you. Any time you put your faith in action to express your love for God, you’re worshiping Him.
Debunk the myth that worship is just a part of your life. Worship shouldn’t be just one part of your life; it’s meant to permeate all of your life. God hopes that, when you worship, you’ll offer your entire life to Him and seek to find and do His will for every decision you make. The only way to find real, lasting peace and fulfill your potential as a person is to infuse worship into every part of your life (not just the part of your life that involves going to church). Since God has designed all human beings to worship, you’re bound to worship something, whether or not it’s God. You naturally worship whatever you place at the center of your life (which you can tell by how much energy, time, and money you spend pursuing it). People can worship their careers, marriage, children, the pursuit of money or pleasure, or anything or anyone else that they devote themselves to more than they devote themselves to God. You also become more like whatever you choose to worship, as a natural result of the worship process. So if you revolve your life around pursuing money, you’ll become a materialistic person. But if you revolve your life around God, you’ll become more spiritually mature. So aim for the goal of true worship: to put God in His rightful position as the focal point of your life. Fall in love with God and devote yourself completely to Him, revolving everything else in your life around your relationship with God.
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