What is “worship” to you?
– a meeting on Sunday?
– singing songs to God?
– telling God how awesome he is?
Here’s an interesting definition from the Bible, found in Romans 12 verse 1:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” (NIV)
“True and proper worship” according to this verse is to offer ourselves completely to God – a fully surrendered life. Instead of presenting a dead animal offering, we present a live one – ourselves: “here I am, I am yours.”
In itself, this is a great definition of worship; but when we zoom out to the greater scheme of things, it makes even more sense!
Let me explain:
In Genesis, we read of a man and a woman, freshly created, living in a garden called Eden. They have a personal, comfortable relationship with God, their creator. They know that he is God and that he is over them, and they know that they are deeply loved and magnificently provided for. They enjoy one another’s company; life is perfect.
But then they are offered another way to live: to exalt themselves above their creator and determine their own destiny. Its attractive – “to be like God” instead of “to be under God”. They take the option and step out from under God’s perfect provision and protection.
The rest is tragic history and we see its ugliness on the news daily.
Then Jesus came – to make a way for man to come back into that relationship. It was the most costly transaction that will ever be made, but Jesus did what had to be done to open the way back. And today you and I can put our faith in Jesus and find that restored relationship with God.
When we realise what God has done for us, we see his incredible love and mercy – and the obvious response is to worship! This is what the Bible is saying.
Then it also says that the appropriate way to worship is to surrender ourselves to him. Why? Because this is to come back to the place we were designed for!
In its essence, worship is to return to our rightful place under God, the place we were originally created to thrive in. The essence of our “fallenness” is our trying to exalt ourselves above our rightful position under God; the essence of worship is to willingly and joyfully return to that rightful position – as “prodigals” returning to their loving Father!
Let’s be worshippers!