Discover How to Reframe Worship from a Biblical Perspective
What do you think of when you hear the word worship? How do we worship God? What does worshiping our Lord mean?
Many churches refer to their Sunday morning meeting time as “worship” or “worship service.” This is how they list it on their church calendar, online, and in their printed materials, such as a bulletin or newsletter.
This suggests that we go to church to worship God. We do it one hour each week. This implies the other 167 hours a week are non-worship time. We do other things the rest of the week, which implicitly emerges as the time when we’re not worshiping God.
Despite calling the entire service “worship,” most people dismiss the sermon as actual worship and focus on the other half of the service as worship. This is the time we hear music and sing to God. However, many of these songs aren’t in anthem to God, but for our benefit.
Since the worship set at most church services is a half-hour (or less), we effectively reduce our worship of God to a mere thirty minutes a week.
Some songs carry the title of worship music. Some radio stations focus on playing this format. And if we lack access to a station that plays worship songs, we can create our own worship music playlist. This means we can listen to worship music throughout the week.
But consider the lyrics of each song that we call worship music. Does it bring adoration to the Almighty? Or does it merely make us feel better? There’s nothing wrong with music that points us to God, but we need to guard against calling this worship music, because it doesn’t worship him.
Worship God by Giving Tithes and Offerings
Something I grew up hearing as a teenager in church, and which I still hear from time to time, is in the Sunday morning service when the minister says, “Now let us worship God by giving our tithes and offerings.”
Then they pass the offering plates to accept our donations. To me this had little to do with worship and much about paying the church’s bills.
Though I don’t see in the Bible any place that directly ties donating money with worship, we can embrace our financial support of the Lord’s work with worship, providing we do so with the right attitude (2 Corinthians 9:7).
These practices are good, but they fall short of answering the question, how do we worship God?
Biblical Answers to the Question of How Should We Worship God?
We’ve talked about the worship service, worship music, and giving as a form of worship. Is that all there is to worshiping God? No.
When it comes to the question “How do we worship God?” the Bible gives us much to consider:
Worship in Spirit and Truth
Jesus says that “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth.” This is the kind of worship that God desires. Since he is a spirit, our best worship is in the Spirit—as in the Holy Spirit—and in truth (John 4:23-24, NIV).
I’m still working on unpacking this passage, but what I do know is that few church services promote true worship today.
Worship through Stillness
In the Bible, our Lord says to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV). He wants us to push away all else and to be still. He doesn’t want us to do anything.
Quiet. No music. No activity. No physical display of worship. Just the silent stillness of connecting with him in the spiritual sense.
This is a tangible way to worship God in Spirit and truth. In practice our stillness can focus on worshiping God by meditating on Scripture and listening to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Worship through Obedience
In contrast to stillness, doing what God says is also a form of worship, but in this case it’s physical. We obey what Jesus says in the Bible, and we obey what the Holy Spirit tells us to do. We don’t obey God to get his attention. Instead, our obedience is a response to what he’s already done for us.
We worship him through our obedience (consider Daniel 7:27).
Worship by Doing Good
Paul writes that women should worship God through their good deeds (1 Timothy 2:8-10). I see no reason why this just applies to ladies. We should all worship God by doing good and helping others in need.
Worship By Being a Living Sacrifice
In the Old Testament, Scripture connects offering animal sacrifices with worship. Since Jesus fulfills the Old Testament law with his once-and-forever sacrifice when he dies for us on the cross, the New Testament doesn’t connect sacrifice with worship going forward. Or does it?
Paul urges the church in Rome to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice. He calls this true and proper worship (Romans 12:1). This living sacrifice isn’t, however, to earn their salvation; they already have that. It’s more to confirm their right standing with God who saved them.
This idea of true worship, however, doesn’t start with Paul. Recall that Jesus mentions it first when he says that true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
How Do We Worship God?
Worship goes beyond the Sunday service, the music we sing, and the offering.
As we consider what the Bible says about worship, we see it as an all-encompassing mindset that could carry us throughout the week and that is not just an hour or so on Sunday mornings.
So then, how do we worship God?
- We worship God in the Spirit and in truth.
- We worship God through stillness.
- We worship God through obedience.
- We worship God by doing good.
- We worship God by being a living sacrifice.
In short, we can—and we should—worship God in all things and at all times.
Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.