Friday, July 15, 2016

The True Definition of Worship

Last year I posted the following: Cloud of Witnesses

I think frequently how although we are free in Christ and not to be bound by legalism; we ought to care how we reflect Christ and represent Him to the world.  We do have a cloud of witnesses watching and we really ought to care about that.

I was thinking and pondering the word worship.  I looked up the definition and this is what I found on Christianity Today website.  I just had to share it.  I included most of the article below so I take no credit:

Psalm 96:9 "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth" (KJV). The Book of Psalms is filled with hundreds of poetic anthems used in the religious celebrations of the children of Israel that clearly instructed them (and us) how to worship God. Yet, even though I heard the word worship in conversation, testimonies, songs, and Scripture, I didn't completely understand what it meant.

The Priority of Worship

Worship is not the slow song that the choir sings. Worship is not the amount you place in the offering basket. Worship is not volunteering in children's church. Yes, these may be acts or expressions of worship, but they do not define what true worship really is. There are numerous definitions of the word worship. Yet, one in particular encapsulates the priority we should give to worship as a spiritual discipline: Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission (Webster's Dictionary,1828).
True worship, in other words, is defined by the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities. True worship is a matter of the heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness. Thus, if your lifestyle does not express the beauty of holiness through an extravagant or exaggerated love for God, and you do not live in extreme or excessive submission to God, then I invite you to make worship a non-negotiable priority in your life.
We worship God because he is God. Period. Our extravagant love and extreme submission to the Holy One flows out of the reality that God loved us first. It is highly appropriate to thank God for all the things he has done for us. However, true worship is shallow if it is solely an acknowledgement of God's wealth. Psalm 96:5-6 says, "For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary." In other words, our worship must be toward the one who is worthy simply because of his identity as the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent One, and not just because God is wealthy and able to meet our needs and answer our prayers. We must focus our practice of worship on the worthiness of God and not his wealthiness.

The Person We Worship

Think about this: Would you continue to worship God if, from this day forward, God's miraculous signs and wonders were not so profoundly evident in your life? Would God still be worthy of your worship? Or is your worship completely dependent upon the abundance of God's blessings upon your life? Do you only worship God for what he can do for you?

The Promise of Worship

Because of our God's unimaginable generosity toward us, God, in all of his glory, chooses to respond to us through our worship. This is the promise—that when we worship God with extravagant love and extreme submission, God will come and commune with us. The promise is not that we will feel great or that our heavy load will be lifted, but that God will come. And when God comes in his own time as a response to our worship, Psalm 96:13 declares, "Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness."

Our Needs and God's Answer!

I want to take a look at the concept of our needs.  God created us with these needs and they are valid.
 For instance, hunger is a response to the body letting your brain know that you are in need of nutrition.  At that moment you have an option and a choice to make, to choose junk or healthy food.  You can have a Big Mac and fries, or you can have a healthy, nutrient rich salad that is full of fresh vegetables combined with a healthy protein choice and balanced out with a healthy fat. Both will respond to the body's demand of hunger, but only one of them will satisfy the nutrient demand of the body.

Just as we have this need for food, the body has so many other types of needs, i.e. companionship - removal of loneliness.  Our Creator said it is not good to be alone.  We were created to be connected both with others and with our Creator.  We can satisfy it with healthy connections with both, or it is possible to falsely satisfy it with other things.  But you will not feel truly satisfied.  We however demand this need be met with man made options that give an illusion of satisfaction but really never delivers just like the Big Mac.  Isn't it strange that the God of the Universe wants to be in connection with us, and we choose instead to relate to a man made option that can only leave us feeling either the same amount of loneliness or worse.

So the truth is I can choose and am free to choose to eat the Big Mac and fries, but if I do this for a longer period time, I will be full each time I consume it without ever meeting my nutritional demands.  Can we all see that this is a recipe for disaster. We will compromise our health. This is true for all of our other needs as well.  Any need met in the short term without regard to what you really need, will bring about long term issues.  These needs are legitimate and God longs to provide for all our needs, but we settle all too often for the world's Big Mac answer.

God's answer for our needs is Him just like the nutrient rich salad meets our physical need for nutrition.

What if we start trusting God to meet our needs?  What if we bring our perceived needs to Him?  Then trust Him to answer as He sees fit.  He knows us and our needs.  What if we allow the needs to drive us to God?  Sometimes our perceived needs are just that... perceived.  What if they are just wants in disguise?  He is able to satisfy our needs and we can find rest and peace in that.  Any unmet need can robe us of our peace.  So go to Him.

Sexual activity is a real need.  However, mankind has found an abundant way of satisfying this desire/need with all manner of perversion/activity which lies outside of God's design.  When this need is met according to God's plan and design, can be wonderful, beautiful and satisfying.  I know in this day and time it is not popular to say and most will call me old fashioned, but the truth remains that what God did when He set aside this pleasurable activity for marriage between one man and one woman, it was to connect them in oneness in such a precious intimate way.  I believe that is why the commitment of marriage is SOOO important.  Knowing that person is in the relationship, choosing to connect only with you, being committed and dedicated to love you for a lifetime. The commitment gives you a level of trust with the other person and a confidence in knowing they will be there tomorrow and the next and the next... (I know there are exceptions, but I am referring to design)  When it is done right, it is intended to bring forth the deepest level of connection we can have with another human, and this truly will take away the feeling of aloneness.  This brings forth a deeper love, a deeper commitment, and a deeper intimacy.  The only relationship that can surpass this experience is the one we can have with God Himself by His Holy Spirit which was carved out for us by His Son Jesus Christ.
When you consider the one-night stand, it can result in a pregnancy. It can satisfy the primal physical demand, but it cannot take away aloneness.  It cannot meet our need to connect and be truly intimate with another.  I believe the sexual experience for anyone outside of the committed relationship is not truly meeting the deeper needs because you are connecting sexually with another that is not required to be there tomorrow and the next... In this scenario, we are meeting the perceived need of sexual physical desire without addressing the deeper true need of connecting, intimacy and trust.

This all can happen in marriage.  Does it?  Not always but it can!  Why doesn't it?  Perhaps it is because marriage is made up of two humans who can be self-centered and self-focused.  I think a start here would be to think of the needs of your partner above your own.  Taking inventory of your own sin and issues.  However, we often keep our eyes on the sin and shortcomings of our partner and our own needs.  We take a stand and say we have the right.  Well if that is the stance you take, often times you will find yourself standing alone with your rights to keep you warm.

So here I have laid out several of our needs and ways that we have tried to satisfy each.  God created us with needs and if we will seek Him and trust Him to provide for our needs, we can be fully satisfied.  He has all the nutrients we require.  He has the RIGHT answer.  It will not be artificial flavoring. It is going to be good, perfect, and we are going to satisfied, peaceful and at rest/ at ease.

Where are you artificially meeting your own needs?  The Big Mac answer is not going to truly satisfy your needs.  Am I saying you should never eat a Big Mac? No.  But you need to be fully aware that it cannot meet your nutritional need.  Enjoy it. But it should never be your standard diet.  Your health depends on it.  This is true for all of our other needs as well.

If we could allow God to meet our needs, we could be so satisfied that we become a beautiful example to the world.  And there we can truly reveal God's glory to the world.

We can extravagantly honor him. We can submit to Him. We can choose His way so that the world can see hope in us.  For those that are lost and going to hell for all of eternity, they can see Christ manifested in the lives of His followers.

WE Christians get so wrapped up in our right to be right and our own perceived needs, our need to be comfortable, even our desire to be catered to by our choice of music or worship styles that we cannot see the true needs of the lost world that is headed for eternal damnation.  Honestly when we are in this place, we have played right into the hands of the enemy.  We have fully cooperated with his plan to take as many to hell as he can grasp.  Well how about we say NO MORE!!!  We seek God to meet our needs, HIS WAY!!!  We walk in obedience and submission and take our eyes off our perceived needs and look around us at those lost without hope.  We can then live lives in a manner that can be seen as different.  And be ready to offer up an answer when asked to the hope that we have.

We need to crucify our fleshly needs, allow God to meet the real underlying needs, rip the bandage off our pitiful hurts and wounds and allow God to heal them once and for all.  Then we can go serve our ONE TRUE GOD by reaching out to the broken lost world around us.  We need to STOP being another excuse for the lost to deny Jesus as the ultimate eternal answer.  Is it really worth the eternal life of another person for you to do as you please.  Stop being a stumbling block, stop saying you are free in Christ to do as you please.  Well if it causes another to remain lost without hope, do you really want to take that excuse before God one day?  I know I don't.

You see God will heal our wounds if we will take them to Him because He is Jehovah Rapha.
He will provide for our needs because He is Jehovah Jireh.

Let's honor Him with our lives and live glorified lives so that others can know Him.

Spend time with Him.  He will heal you and He will meet your needs!

He created us.
He knows what we need...

He has the answer we are looking for.