What does worship really look like?

Live Life Naked Presents: Created December 9, 2017

Is worship something you think about?

When I think of worship, I can’t help but to think of my experiences growing up in a black Baptist church. I feel odd now a days saying I grew up in church. It was already odd enough in grade school being one of few who attended church regularly on Sunday’s; but to be there on Fridays and Saturdays for some kind of youth activity, made me a rarity among my peers. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how much growing up in a black Baptist church influenced me, particularly the way I interact with God through music and song.

What does your worship look like? Is it quiet, still, and reflective? Is it vocal, active, and expressive? Does it look differently in different environments? Is it different during different seasons of your life? Does it depend on what side of the bed you wake up on?

So let me start off by saying I am what most people consider “churchy”, and grew to be more expressive during worship services after befriending folks who grew up in a Pentecostal tradition.  I often give verbal affirmations during the sermon, participate in music selections with clapping, singing, standing, and swaying; and, if the bump is right, I just might cut a step (or “shout” – a form of dance during worship).  Then, probably just as often, I’ll look around to see what everyone else is doing; and I am surprised that there aren’t as many arms raised as I imagined before glancing around the room. This began to make me wonder, “what are people’s experiences during worship?” 

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how much growing up in a black Baptist church influenced me, particularly the way I interact with God through music and song.

My reflection is not at all me being judgmental of the variances of praise. Sure, everyone has preferences. How you worship doesn’t necessarily directly correlate to living a life reflecting one submitted to Jesus Christ.  I have no hesitation to tell you that my “Sunday best” me and my “rest-of-the-week” me has looked (and sometimes still looks) like totally different people. 

There have been many times I’ve come in church feeling broken, depressed, sad, discouraged, frustrated, and hopeless, hoping for something to happen in worship. At times I’ve cried and wailed, hoping SOMETHING would happen. There were enough times where I left church feeling unchanged and unaffected; returning to the mess I hoped I’d be miraculously delivered from that day. I began to raise questions. Why wasn’t I experiencing change?

Ouch! I was so preoccupied with having a “worship experience” and not a “GOD experience”!

I recently decided to attend a worship service outside of my normal schedule. It was a Sunday evening which is usually reserved for preparing for the week. Nevertheless, I went because I really enjoy worshiping the Lord with music and song. The service lasted long but it was a good time! The music sounded great, the energy was high, and some of my favorite songs were sung in the service. On my way home, I began to reflect on the good time I had! Then to my surprise, the Holy Spirit convicted me in love by questioning my intentions. Did I enjoy worshiping God with my obedience as much as I enjoyed worshiping Him in music and song? Ouch! I was so preoccupied with having a “worship experience” and not a “GOD experience”!

The Holy Spirit was teaching me that It’s little about the music and the singing that is powerful, rather, it is the GOD that the music and the singing is pointing our attention to that is able and willing to interact with us and to produce change.

If you will, please join me in considering a few things about worship:

  • The Webster’s dictionary defines worship, in summary: valuing the worth of something, particularly a deity, but not exclusively

From this, I think it’s reasonable to suggest that:

  • Every human being participates in worshiping something
  • Worship is always happening

Time has often been a pretty secure indicator on value and appreciation. It is often odd to consider that people worship “stuff”, however, we do this all the time.  Just Think of your own relationship with some “stuff”; Pets, social media, television, clothes, other PEOPLE, just to name a few.  

Jesus states in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” We esteem things as valuable and having worth by our service to them.  In the above case, if all of your “service” or time is spent trying to acquire financial success, then financial success becomes your master and gains your worship.    

However, the amazing point Christ makes does not end there, he also continues with “Do not worry about life!”  If you focus all of your service on him, everything else will be taken care of.   You will be able to have “stuff” and enjoy “stuff” without the “stuff” mastering you and requiring your “worship”!

 

The Holy Spirit was teaching me that It’s little about the music and the singing that is powerful, rather, it is the GOD that the music and the singing is pointing our attention to that is able and willing to interact with us and to produce change.

Here at Live Life Naked the vision and mission are inspired from the Bible account in the book of Genesis about human’s initial relationship with God.  Before sin came in and jacked everything up, Adam and Eve’s relationship with God was perfect. EVERYTHING was perfect. And since it’s a part of human nature to worship, even our worship was perfect! The way they interacted with each other, with stuff (i.e creation), and with God Himself was perfect and sinless. Even the sex was worship to God! Glory to God! Can you imagine? (Actually…never mind. Don’t, Unless you’re married. Not tryna provoke lust or fantasies. Forget I said anything. Moving on…very quickly lol!)

 

There are a few things to consider when worshiping:

  • Jesus said the true worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23)
  • There are beings in heaven who have the primary and eternal function and responsibility to praise and worship GOD (Isaiah 6: 1-8)
  • David praised the Lord with dance and without shame (2 Samuel 6:12 – 23)
  • The Psalms contain a collection of poetry and songs about worship (Ex. Psalm 150)
  • The book of Revelation is, largely, about worshiping God for the rest of eternity

The above doesn’t even make a dent in the many way’s God explains worship.  God is INFINITE and thus why worship is really an eternal matter an endeavor that can never be fully explained on this side of heaven, let alone in a single blog post. I’m just sharing a few thoughts and reflections on the topic to get you to think more purposely about your worship.

 

I think it would be healthy for us to restructure how we usually think of worship. It’s not just on Sundays, and It’s not always singing and tears. Worship is how we express our understood and perceived worth – adoration, awe, affection, submission, obedience – of God. Because He is of ultimate eternal worthiness to be worshiped and praised. We do this everyday and every moment with our service (which equals our time and equals our choices). How is your service reflecting your love and adoration for God? How are they not?

Grace & peace…..

Author:

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Fanta Love joined the Live Live Naked Team in 2017