Yesterday I suggested two definitions for worship. Today, I’ll unpack the first.
“Christian worship is the response of God’s redeemed people to His self-revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ in our minds, affections, and wills, in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Christian worship…is different from every kind of worship because it has been made possible through Jesus Christ. (Rev. 5:9-10)
Is the response…God has already done something outside of us and inside of us that enables us to worship Him. We are not the initiators of worship; God is. (Acts 17:24-31)
Of God’s redeemed people…Just as God delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt to worship Him (Ex. 8:1), so He has redeemed us as a holy nation to declare His praises. (1 Pet. 2:9) Worship of God is intended to be corporate, not simply personal.
To his self-revelation…we can’t know God apart from Him revealing Himself to us. He has shown Himself to us in creation, His Word, and ultimately His Son. (Rom. 1:20; Heb. 1:1-4)
That exalts…the essence of worship is exalting – raising up, lifting high, submitting to, magnifying, making much of, honoring, reverencing, celebrating – the triune God. (Ps. 71:19)
God’s glory in Christ…Moses asked God to show him his glory and God passed before him and proclaimed his nature. (Ex. 34:6-7) God has enabled us to see His glory in the face of Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6)
In our minds…worship involves thinking, meditating, reflecting, processing, evaluating, understanding what God has revealed to us of Himself. (Rom. 12:1-2; Ps. 111:2)
Affections…true worship involves the heart as well as the head. We worship what we love and value the most. (Mt. 22:37-38)
And wills…If we are truly worshipping God, we will truly be transformed. (2 Cor. 3:17-18) Our choices will reflect our profession that God is supreme in our lives. (Rom. 12:1-2)
In the power of the Holy Spirit…We are those who worship by the Spirit of God, (Phil. 3:3) and depend on His leading and enabling.
All this to say that when we talk about worshipping God, we’re communicating something of profound significance that should humble and amaze us. Perhaps if we spoke of “worship” in a more biblical way, “worship wars” might be non-existent. Now wouldn’t that be something to worship God for?