Without going into the nitty gritty of etymology the meaning of worship has been distorted in Christian circles. How many times do we say things like “we have contemporary worship”? How often do we limit our discussion of worship to worship music, and the style of worship music, and the length of a worship set? How often do we limit ourselves in worship because we have come to think that the songs we sing is the extent of our worship?
Obviously, this is not a problem that everyone faces. I’m actually reasonably certain that this is limited to American Evangelicals and their offshoots (so that certainly includes me in Vineyard Association of Churches). I bring this up however, because as I was taking a closer look at Revelations 4 I realized that whatever meaning may be behind the passage the action, the events of Chapter 4 revolve around worship and I’m certain that this is a key aspect of the passage. Psalm 22 tells us that the Lord resides in the midst of the praises of His people and we see this confirmed in Revelation 4, where the elders in white and the angels all bow down to worship Him.
But here’s the kicker.
The actual act of worship is described in Rev 4:10 when the twenty four elders bow down and cast their crowns before the feet of the Most High. Worship in spirit and in truth occurs in the moment when we bow our hearts before the Lord and offer to Him everything that we have ever gained, won, or earned and cherish. Any act that brings us to that place is therefore an act of worship. Now just because it CAN be act of worship doesn’t mean that it defaults to an act of worship. It must be done deliberately to bring Him glory, it must exalt Him in order for it to be worship, and it must bring your heart to a place where it is bowed down before him.
1) Get a physical reminder. I got this prayer bracelet not too long ago and I use the colored beads to remind myself to pray and the silver ones to remind myself to worship. We see this all over the bible where people build altars as a physical reminder of something that God has done, and to remind people to praise Him for it. Jacob is a great example, that man built altars all over the place. So get a physical reminder.
2) Play to your strengths. I’m not much one for music myself, so I’m not going to hum or sing quietly (and I assure you I won’t do it loudly either) but I love His word. I soak in scripture in a way that kind of surprises me sometimes. So I’ll call to mind a passage and meditate on it, I’ll think about how I would present this passage to my youth, or how I can write a blog post about it. Obviously I’m a bit of a brainiac and that works well for me, but who says that the artistically inclined can’t doodle for Christ? Or that type A’s can’t …do their type A thing for His glory? You get the idea right? I mean what greater way to praise Him than to dedicate the strengths He gave us back to Him in our everyday?
3) Be reckless, be bold. So Peter and the Disciples are being persecuted because they’ve made a little too much noise, they’ve been a little too forward in preaching the gospel and have gone to prison for it, and in Acts 4 they all get together and say “LORD, grant us boldness!” As if they weren’t bold enough. Now I’m not saying you should build a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, strip naked and dance in front of the ark in the middle of the street. David got away with it because he was King and he still had to deal with his wife afterwards. What I mean by “be bold” is to stretch the limits. When I praise the Lord in my everyday I need to push beyond sitting around and thinking and meditating on His word. That’s great, and I share it, I take time at work (even though I probably shouldn’t) to write blog posts and come up with teachings for my Wednesday small group, but at the same time I recognize and acknowledge that it’s very safe while faith is spelled R-I-S-K.
4) Don’t go it alone. I’m not Rambo and I’m not Superman despite my vain aspirations to the contrary. We are a community of faith. We are a Body of Christ. It’s not an I or a ME thing. It’s an US thing. Where two or more are gathered right? Now I’m going to guess that most of us can’t just stop in the middle of our day and get a couple of co-workers together to praise the LORD. But come on! This is the internet age! I’m on three or four different e-mail chains with people in my church and we will send scriptures to one another and send prayer and praise reports to one another and every time I see one in my inbox I stop and hit my prayer and praise beads and I know that everyone out there is doing the same. And yes where one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him and a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart, that’s true, but far more importantly “Where two or more are gathered there in my name, there I am with them.”
So how about it? Anything you’d like to add? What do you think of as worship?