Expand Your Worship
It’s likely that most of us have, at some point, heard a message (or read a blog post!) suggesting that we need to broaden our definition of worship and its role in our lives; that we need to understand worship as being more than simply singing a few songs and taking communion, and instead view it as a posture that pervades all our activities and spheres of life. This is certainly the right way to understand worship, but in my experience, such messages often lack practical help for making such an adjustment. I would like to suggest two practices that, over time, can help move us toward an expanded, integrated life of worship.
Examine Your “Why”
Pause for a moment and imagine that someone has just asked you why God deserves your devotion, and make a list of five to ten reasons that come to your mind. (Do your best to list reasons that actually have influence in your life, rather than ones that just sound like the right answers.) A mentor of mine once told me that all of our reasons for worshiping God can be summarized as three essential reasons: who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.
Now look back at your list—is it skewed toward just one or two of these three? Perhaps you listed only ways you believe God has blessed you or intervened on your behalf over the course of your life, but none that describe His character. Or perhaps they all point to God’s plan to redeem the world yet fail to mention anything personal to your life.
Most of us stand to gain from reflecting on what currently guides our worship and then deepening our understanding in areas that may be lacking. Bible study is, of course, the best means for this, but other resources may help. The Knowledge of the Holy and The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer are two books that have helped me go deeper into the “why” of worship.
Our fast-paced, hyperproductive culture hinders a life of worship. Busyness and hurry are norms we mistakenly believe point to our own significance. Many of us, deep down, would be embarrassed to admit to not being busy or hurried because that would indicate our time must not be very valuable. But there is an important distinction to be made between busyness and hurry.
Busyness, an outward reality, is not an enemy of worship per se, but hurry, an inward condition, undoubtedly is. John Ortberg points out in The Life You’ve Always Wanted, that “Jesus was often busy, but never hurried. Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.” We may be busier at certain times and less so at others, but hurriedness keeps us from being present with God and others. The elimination of hurry is fundamental to creating space to hear from God and to let expansive worship fill our hearts.
My prayer this week is that as our knowledge of God deepens, our worship of Him would expand, and that we would give up hurry for the sake of a peaceful and well-ordered heart.