Here’s the next installment in my musings on worship, following on from my previous post “What is worship?”…
Thank you for joining me on this journey as we delve deeper into understanding what worship is. I pray that week by week as we explore aspects of what worship is, God would lead, inspire, challenge us and to help us grow and learn more about worship and its power to transform our everyday lives. So today I want to start our journey by exploring why it is we should worship. I believe that every one of us has been designed with the intrinsic ability to worship, which is to show a reverence and adoration to something bigger than ourselves. You just have to take a look around and you will see people dedicated everyday to worship.
Now this might not look how you would imagine when you hear the word. Those who think it is only to do with ‘religion’ would be wrong. One of the most powerful and awesome displays of worship that I have witnessed was at a Europa football (soccer) match between Aston Villa and Rapid Vienna. Before we even walked in the stadium we could feel the ground vibrating at the stamping, singing and chanting of the Austrian fans. I have to admit that I was more captivated by the Austrian fans than the game. They had a man who conducted their ‘worship’ – and they chanted, cheered, held up signs etc throughout the entirety of the match to show their support and adoration for their team. Why did they do this? Why did they take the time to show outrageous support and adoration? Because they believed in this team, because worshipping this team gave them an outlet for their desire to worship.
In ‘The Worshipping Church’, Noel Richards explores this inbuilt desire to worship and concludes that without God we fill our lives with substitutes that distract us from worshipping God – the real reason he believes we were created to worship. As a Christian I believe that we have all been created in God’s image (Genesis 1vs27) and that we have an inbuilt desire to worship the one who created us. I believe that God is First and Last, Alpha and Omega, Father, Spirit and Son. In a nutshell he is almighty, awesome and worthy of praise. So for me, I worship because that is the main purpose of my created being. I recently saw a quote by Simon Timperley which sums it up beautifully is ‘He is God I am not – he deserves my attention’. Amen!
Recently I asked a group of worship leaders to sum up what worship was to them and one that really stood out and moved my heart was ‘Worship is a response of a heart in love with the Lord’ (Jonathan Brewer). I agree with this and believe that we should also worship out of love for what God has done for us. I believe what the Bible says in John 3 v17 – “God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved’. I believe that through God’s grace alone I am saved. This truth draws me to my knees, humbles my proud heart, and fills me with love, adoration and gratefulness. When I reflect on what my God has done for me I realise that he loves me so much, and that even in the vastness of his creation he would care for me, and long to save my soul.
This truth, this act of unconditional, everlasting love breaks down the walls of my fears and insecurities and draws me to worship. It makes me overflow with songs of love and praise for the One who has reached out to me, a lowly sinner and touched my life with his love, grace, strength, hope and power. For me these are powerful reasons why I worship. Simply I worship God, because I love him with all my heart, strength and life. I need to return my adoration by falling down before God, praising him, calling him worthy, mighty, King of kings and Wonderful Counsellor.
Another key reason that I feel worship is so important and so transforming in our lives and communities is because I believe it welcomes God’s presence. This may sound controversial -God is God so why would he need our welcome? I believe God gave us free will because He wanted us to choose to worship Him, to realise that He is the one that fulfils that need within us. I believe He gave us the wisdom to understand how His presence changes lives, heals and brings hope. He gives us the choice to welcome Him into our lives and our daily situations. I know that in my own life, when I have come to worship and surrendered my own life and situations to Him I have found strength to keep persevering, found the grace to forgive others, and experienced joy in the darkest night. When I have welcomed him into my heart and soul he has flooded me with peace and transformed me.
A few years back my husband and I were on a worship course (where we met!) and one of the books we were required to study was Jack Hayford’s “Manifest Presence”. It is a brilliant and challenging book looking at the importance of worshipping God in a fallen world. Jack reminds us that when we worship we welcome God’s presence, welcome His power and might and enabling Him to ‘overthrow sins destructive actions’. I believe God has chosen to partner with us and that he wants us to pray for our communities, he wants us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and for us to long to see Him coming into our world in powerful and amazing ways. If you knew royalty was coming you would ‘roll out the red carpet’, lay on a rich welcome, and that is in essence what worship is. We should give God the entrance of praise and adoration that he fully deserves.
So to conclude for me the key reasons that I have come to understand for me of why I should worship are: We have been created to worship He is God and worthy of all praise Gratitude for the incredible sacrifice and unconditional love He has shown. A welcoming of His transforming presence. As we continue to walk forward I pray that God would show us day by day His love and will for our lives, and that we would truly recognise the power and magnitude of worshipping our awesome creator.
God bless Kat