Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why Do We Worship God?

Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, `YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" Matthew 4:10

If I said to you, "You must worship me!", what would you think? You'd think that I had an ego problem, a self-esteem problem, or both, and that I needed outside affirmation to feel good about myself. So why don't we think those things of God when He says it?

Well, to be honest, when I was a new Christian, I wasn't sure. It puzzled me. I asked Pastors and other people I trusted, and the kinds of answers I got were "Because He's worthy, " and "Because He made us to worship something, and He wants it to be Him," and the like. I agreed with all of those things, but it seemed like something was still missing. Those answers just weren't the entire picture.

So I pondered on the character of God over the next few months to try to figure out why He is so intensely interested in us actively, consciously worshipping Him.

But first I had to figure out what the word "worship" means?

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Present my body as a living sacrifice. Hmm... How do I do that? Lots of ways. Listen...

  • Read the Word daily
  • Serve in the church ministries
  • Serve in community outreach
  • Give up unholy things

So that's worship? Well, no, not really. Those are "acts" of worship. They are actions you can take that demonstrate externally that you're in an active , internal state of worship. The problem is, you can do those things even if you don't believe in God. So what else is there?

  • Pray withouth ceasing
  • Trust Him in bad times

Ok, that's getting a little closer. Those things are hard to do if you're an unbeliever. But it's still not enough. There must be more

And then I saw a picture on the internet that explained everything.

It was the unlikely Harry Potter that showed me why God wants us to worship Him. One of the new books had just been released and a few kids had it in their hands. They all had these huge smiles on their faces, two were screaming with their faces to the ceiling, and a couple of them had the Harry Potter glasses and clothes on. They were in active worship of Harry Potter!

1 John 3:2 We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

We become what we worship.

Ever see a teenager idolize a rock group? They have pictures on their walls, they dress like them, they learn to talk like them, they think about them constantly. That's our picture of worship. If you're truly worshipping God, then your whole focus is on Him. I want to be like Him, I have pictures on my walls and a cross around my neck that bring me warmth as they remind me of Him in the hectic distractions of my day, and I take the time to stop and talk to Him or visit Him in His Word as often as my schedule will allow.

As we spend time on Him and His Word as an act of worship, we grow closer to Him, and we strive to become more like Him.

So that answered that question, but like the irritating little kid tugging on your sleeve, I still wanted to know "Why?" Why does God want us to be like Him? Why can't I just continue to be like me and love Him from there? And what's it got to do with Mental Health?

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Worship is a blast! Reflect back on the Harry Potter fans. Not only were they trying to look like him, but they were having a blast doing it. You can enjoy worshipping God in a way the world will never understand.

John Piper said, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." God loves a joyful Christian.

He speaks to us through His Word. As you focus your attention on Him (which is a direct result of worship) rather than the surrounding world, you'll spend more time in His Word. His Holy Spirit will change you on the inside as you submit to Him and allow your heart to respond to His. If you have the heart of God, then as the world comes down on you, you'll be protected against it.

And you can face anything with God's joy. So worship brings joy and peace.

But I had one more question. Ok, God wants me to worship Him so I'll become like Him, and as I do that, I'll have peace and joy in my heart. But I don't believe that God's purpose for my life was to bring me joy. That doesn't seem right. So how does my worshipping Him, which I admit will bring me joy, serve God's purpose for me in my life?

Phillipians 3:13-14 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

What is the "upward call" that Paul is talking about?

1 Cor 9:22-23 ...I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

The upward call is to save some.

But how does my worshipping God "save some?"

People are watching. Forget what lies behind. Let it go - the good stuff and the bad. Today, forget yesterday. Tomorrow, forget today. Put your focus on things above. Press on to what lies ahead. As you worship Him, you'll come to know Him and naturally become more like Him. As you become more like Him, you'll handle life differently than the world.

This is the key to genuine joy - As a worshipping Christian, every ordeal becomes an opportunity from God to show the world that Jesus is real, and He's different.

1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

As you face life's ordeals with genuine joy - even rejoicing, the people who see the joy of Christ shining through you will be drawn to it like moths to the porch light. When I was seeking, I was a very happy person from the world's perspective. But as I observe Christians handling life, I could see a supernatural joy in them I didn't understand. I didn't understand it - but I wanted it. As "happy" as I was, it was clear to me that they had something I didn't have, and theirs' was better

Worship brings joy, even in the face of life's trials. And that joy brings skeptics and unbelievers to the light. The smile on your face, the grace with which you face trials, showing love to the unlovable, are magnets that people can't resist. They can reject your doctrine and your preaching, but they can't deny your joy. You have something they don't have, and they can't help but want it.

And how do you get it? By worshipping God with all your heart. That's the key, and that's why it's so important to God.

Read the Word daily, exercise your Spiritual gifts in the church, serve in outreach, pray without ceasing, love the unlovable, present your bodies a living sacrifice and become like Him, and have a blast doing it. People are watching and will be drawn.

God doesn't have an ego problem. He doesn't need our worship. We do. We need it to find His joy. And we need it to draw unbelievers to His side. Go worship God and save some, and find the greatest joy on the face of the planet.

Grace and Peace in His Joy, Sue

34 Comments:

At September 22, 2005 11:03 PM, Blogger Gina Burgess said...

Sue, a fabulous study on worship. Once I looked up every verse that had worship in it. It was an amazing study and your's parallels that.

 
At July 15, 2007 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sue, I just asked myself today this same question as why do have to worship. No one could provide an answer that eased my curiousity. However, you did and did it well. Not only did you answer my question, but you broke it down so everyone could understand and provided verses for us to reference. Thanks for answering the impossible for me.

 
At July 15, 2007 6:40 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Dear Anonymous, Thanks so much for your encouragement and comments. It was a question that puzzled me for a long time, too. I don't think many people do the question justice, so I appreciate your thoughtful response. Thanks, and you're welcome!

Sue

 
At August 30, 2008 5:27 AM, Blogger Kay Martin said...

You're right...what we lose ourselves in; the awe and wonder of is what we worship and in time become like it. Very well stated and fits my experience.

 
At August 30, 2008 6:15 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Hey Kay - Thanks for sharing your exerience with this concept. I really found it to be an amazing force in my life, especially when I realized it outright rather than it just being something that happened to me. Then I could purpose in my heart to work toward that day by day, minute by minute. I appreciate your taking the time to respond.

 
At September 19, 2008 6:37 AM, Anonymous GinaRenay said...

This Heartlight quote was in my email today: "We are saved to worship God. All that Christ has done for us in
the past and all that he is doing now leads us to that one end."-- A. W. Tozer
and I asked myself why should I? I used to heartily and joyfully but I backed away because of immense persecution within the church. I "was" a minister of dance but the jealous ones higher up and members were adamant towards me...GOD WAS ALWAYS WITH ME STRENGTHENING ME but I got so weary in with so many darts from the enemy and others...God does fight my battles; just got weary.
I am slowly coming back into the fold so I appreciate your explanation. THANK YOU.

 
At March 25, 2009 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 24, 2009
I have found great strength in your article and thank you so much for helping me to understand the true meaning of worship.

 
At April 18, 2009 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks!
I was working on a study for my small group and found myself sitting there wondering how can I talk about worship if I can't explain why we worship.
This was very encouraging and gave me some great verses to reference!
I have to admit, though, when I started reading the part about Harry Potter explaining why we worship God, I almost stopped reading....but my curiosity begged me to read further. That was a really amazing way to present that concept.

 
At April 18, 2009 8:28 PM, Blogger Sue said...

I am so glad you kept reading, and I'm very encouraged that this has been helpful for your group. Feel free to use as much of it as you'd like. I am honored that you would want to use any of it, so thanks!

 
At May 09, 2009 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sue,

I was given a topic to share in the youth church. Its about worship as a lifestyle. i didnt know how or where to start. When i read your article, it opened my mind and i know that im really blessed by the knowledge and wisdom God has given you. thank you and may god bless you continually, with increasing grace and mercy daily.

 
At May 09, 2009 3:10 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Thanks for your comments. I am so glad I was able to be helpful in your quest. Blessings back to you, as well!

 
At October 23, 2009 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really really enjoyed reading this blog!
so much i learned and it has blessed me. I am so thankful.
thank you!

 
At November 26, 2009 9:55 AM, Blogger Rick said...

Sue, I am planning a sermon on worship, and in realizing all things God wants of us are for our benefit, so the premise I developed was that we need to worship for our own spiritual growth. So I wrote in Google, "Why Do We Need to Worship God?" Among other sites, it pulled up your site. You have done a great job of covering the subject.

Your point on our desire to be like Christ being a basis for our worship.

Thanks for your service to the Christian community through your blog.

Cordially,

Rick

 
At November 26, 2009 11:59 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Hello Rick, Thank you for your encouragement. I am privileged to be able to offer you some of my insights and what I've learned in my own walk with God. I know your sermon will help people grow in their perspectives and in their relationship with God. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 
At December 12, 2009 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sue,

Having been raised in church, I have repeatedly asked myself this same question. Needing to teach this to Senior High students and wondering how to answer this question...Googled this question and your blog came up.

Very thankful to have found your writing on this subject. After 46 years in church services, this is the best explanation I have ever heard or read. Great job! Thanks.

Jeff

 
At December 13, 2009 6:22 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Thank you, Jeff, for your comments. I am so glad you can use this to share with your High School students. Please give them my regards and blessings. Sue

 
At December 15, 2009 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ughhh. No No No . This is all wrong

 
At December 15, 2009 6:29 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Hi Anonymous, please e-mail me (sue@opnhrt.com) and explain your thoughts. If I'm convinced, I will be happy to retract it and delete this post. Without more to go on, though, the other comments leave me feeling like it's on target and helping people. I am open, however, to your thoughts. Please, let's dialogue. Sue

 
At December 17, 2009 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stopped believing and worshipping god 30 years ago Most people I have asked don't really know why they worship their imaginary friend. Comforting, explain the unknown, etc. I am not spirtually lost, my life is complete. Evolution has given me an incredible gift. The gift of life. I am the result of billions of years of evolution from less complicated lifeforms to what I am today. I consider that spiritual, no need for god(s) we have created in OUR IMAGE. It's humbling to think about all that has come before me. Someday, I'll die. Hopefully, not too soon. Just knowing that I exist is good enough for me, no need for some silly eternal afterlife which is the prize that everyone selfishly seeks. You get your 70/80 amount of years if you are lucky, enjoy it to the fullest because that's all there is. Try not to be depressed about this, because right now, if you are reading this, you are alive and that's what ultimately matters.

 
At December 17, 2009 8:31 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Hi Anonymous, thank you so much for your thoughts. Boy, was I there at one time, and not too long ago, either. I could have written that, myself, right down to being excited and proud of my slime-soup-roots (and I'm not trying to be funny here), to being content with the annihilation perspective of death. As a non-existent existence, why would I be afraid of something in which I had absolutely no feeling at the time? When you're dead as an atheist, there's nothing to fear. I was truly content, so I totally get what you're saying. Then, over a period of several months, I just got curious and started doing some research. I had no dog in the fight at all, but I wanted the truth - whatever that looked like. I'd have been perfectly happy either way. I bought a whole bunch of books by previous atheists who had converted to Christianity, and little by little, my evolutionary roots started to crumble. Then one day, they simply crashed and burned. The rest is history. I would be honored to engage in some dialogue with you about this and share more of the details. Please e-mail me at the address in the header of this page and let's talk some more. Thank you again for your comments. Blessings, Sue

 
At January 22, 2010 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks Sue.

 
At January 22, 2010 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you Sue. I am thankful and was blessed by your description and writing on worship. Pax and shalom in your all in all.

 
At January 22, 2010 5:08 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Thank you both very much for your heartwarming thoughts.

 
At February 09, 2010 3:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hiii.....praise the lord!!!

hallelujah....there's goes my praie to the lord.

thankyou so much, it's really encouraging...

 
At February 19, 2010 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi sue, im 15, i believe in god and i do pray and say thanks every now and again, and i try to be nice and help people (dont always manage it). I dont really like going to church because i find it boring but i still go 2 times a week, do you think im doing enough to secure a place with god?

 
At February 19, 2010 2:44 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Hi Anonymous, Thank you so much for asking. What a great question! Actually, there's nothing you need to do to secure a place with God. As a matter of fact, there's really nothing you can do. When Jesus died, he paid the full price for anything we have ever, or might ever do that would keep us from God. There's nothing more to do. When Jesus said, "It is finished," He was talking about salvation and the price that needs to be paid for sin. Salvation is totally a free gift from God. The only, and I mean absolutely only thing you need to do is acknowledge you know you've sinned, ask for forgiveness, and tell God that you accept Jesus' death as the full punishment for all of your sins, past, present, and future. That's it. Praying, going to church, doing the right things, all of those are just ways we can be in a personal relationship with Him, and that's the best Christian life you can have. None of the things we can do will secure our salvation. Admit you're a sinner, ask God for forgiveness of it, and tell God you want Jesus to save you. He promises us that He will, and you will have your secure place with God. If you have more questions, please feel free to e-mail me at the address at the top of the page.

If you want a more detailed answer, go to my post called "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" at http://bibletherapy.blogspot.com/2005/08/gospel-of-jesus-christ_11.html.

Thank you again for asking, and God bless,
Sue

 
At February 19, 2010 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much, that makes me feel alot better, god bless you too

 
At April 24, 2010 6:43 AM, Blogger Fady said...

WOW...is not a coincidence, today, our music min. has a Fasting/Prayer time and I was looking for something to share, your comments were exactly what we needed to hear. Thank you for your wise words!!! We are up for the challenge!

FADY

 
At April 24, 2010 7:02 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Hey Fady, God is good and His timing, as always, is perfect! Thanks for your encouragement.

 
At May 28, 2010 3:35 AM, Blogger tashab said...

hi there, i am sharing on worship as a lifestyle at our Youth Leadership Camp...this was such a blessing to read and has opened my mind to what God wants me to share with our developing leaders about worship...THANK YOU SO MUCH!

 
At May 28, 2010 7:36 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Dear tashab - Thank you so much for the kind words. You are very welcome, and I'm glad you're able to share it. I know the kids are blessed by your love. I would love their feedback. Blessings! Sue

 
At September 15, 2010 6:20 AM, Blogger Dr Rob Endicott, Dental Surgeon said...

Many thanks Sue, just what I needed this morning!

 
At September 15, 2010 9:14 AM, Blogger Sue said...

You are very welcome. I'm glad it was able to touch your heart. -Sue

 
At August 06, 2011 9:35 AM, Blogger Bhernie John said...

Thank you so much for this Sue, I will be sharing this to my fellow youth in our church.. This blog made me fully understand the innermost meaning of worshiping our Father. I have been involved in the PaW team in our church for about 9 years but I never understood the concept until now. From your words of wisdom, one thing certain I've learned. Worshiping the Father, doesn't benefit Him but it's all ours... Thank You so much and God bless you more..


-bhej

 

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