What is Worship?

Hand lifted in worship

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Today we’re going to be talking about the question, “What is worship?” To me, the go-to verse for this is Romans 12:1, which says, “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy, to offer your body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship.”

So, we talk about this verse and we look at a sacrifice and we must ask, what does a sacrifice do? A sacrifice gives. In the context of a sacrifice that is killed on an altar, that sacrifice is giving everything that it has – even to the point of death. So we as living sacrifices, the point of our lives is to give absolutely everything that we have, but not to the point of death. As a living sacrifice, we give everything to the point of life. We are living beings and as we breathe in and we breathe out we are to glorify God in everything that we have to the point of life and giving Him that glory.

Another thing that we look at is who we worship. We worship a sovereign God, a God who gives and He takes away and He’s powerful and He’s big and He’s strong and He can do anything and everything that He wants to and desires to do. 1 John 4:19 says this, “We love because he first loved us.” When we read this verse we begin to take a look at why we worship. Why are we worshiping this holy and sovereign God? We worship Him because He first loved. Because He has given us the greatest gift that has ever been given and in response to that we live this living sacrifice type of mentality with everything that we do because He gave that love to us first.

So, what does worship look like? What does worship look like in the context of our lives and the context of living? I think for us maybe the best thing to do is go back to Genesis 1 and if you go back there the Trinity is having a conversation with itself and it says, “Let us make man in our image.” So that was the entire purpose and they set out and God made man. He created us. He created us to look like Him. And He created us, and here’s the key, to be a reflection of Him, that everything we do and everything that we say would be a reflection of the holy God who created us. When he made us He had Himself in mind that we are to look like Him, act like Him.

The whole thing about a living sacrifice is that at any time this living sacrifice can crawl off the altar. It can do anything that it wants to do. It can say that I’m going to go worship or put my efforts and my mindset, set my heart on something else. But as we worship we give everything that we have and we set our hearts on living for Him in everything that we do.

We have this mentality within worship that we’re sitting in a service and it only takes place on the church premises. It only takes place on Sunday nights, Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights and that’s it. The mindset that so many people have, including our students, is that when the music stops worship stops. And the fact is that is just not true. Obviously, we want to begin to develop within our students and in our churches, that worship is a lifestyle. It’s not just when the music is taking place and we’re sitting in a service. It’s something that happens every moment of every day of our lives. It’s not something that we take a break from and it’s not even within the context for those of us who think “Oh, I spend time with the Lord every day.”It’s not even in the context of spending time with the Lord in the morning and closing that Bible and setting it down and thinking “Now I can go about the rest of my day.” No, this is all a process of keeping God at the center of everything that we do. When we begin to keep Him at the center connecting Him to every aspect of our lives, what we’re achieving is true, real and authentic worship.

Ryan Snell serves as the Contemporary Worship Leader at First Baptist Church, Opelika.

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