Wednesday, September 9, 2009
For the six years my son attended McCallie school I read the marker at their entrance each time I drove onto campus: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Our primary aim in life is to glorify God in everything we do and say and think and to enjoy our relationship with God forever. Isn’t that a wonderful way to view worship! Glorifying and enjoying God!
Warren Wiersbe offers this definition of worship, “Worship is the believer’s response of all that he is—mind, emotions, will, and body—to all that God is and says and does.” The Greek word for worship is proskuneo meaning to fall down and adore. It is used over 60 times in the New Testament to show acts of total reverence to God. Proskuneo is what Jesus describes in John 4:23-24: “…the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.” God wants us to worship him from the inside out. He wants us to be consumed with him, to be on fire for him.
While I have attended worship services since I was two weeks old, I don’t think I really appreciated the full scope of worship until my faith was tested. You see, it seemed quite natural to go to church to worship God, but I learned through my darkest trials how to worship God with full surrender and in an intimate and personal way.
One of the darkest periods was in 1997. After a bout with cancer and painful divorce, I was moving forward with my life and began building a house. My brother Chuck had been so faithful to me during my crises. He was always ready to offer comforting words, financial help and plenty of construction advice, as well as hard labor on my house. He owned an air conditioning company and was installing my unit on that sweltering summer day. Using faulty electric equipment and sweating profusely, my dear brother was electrocuted. This was the most horrifying, tragic event that had ever affected my family. We struggled with our loss and questioned God for taking such a dynamic man, a husband and father of two children at an early age, 41. Under girded by the love and support of hundreds of friends, our family drew on our faith and our tight bonds to see us through.
Through these crises my spirit was crushed. I had to “work out my faith with fear and trembling” as Paul describes in Philippians. I seemed to have lost the joy of my salvation. It was during this valley that I learned to worship God despite my circumstance. God was present in all my circumstances offering love and hope and drawing me to him. Richard Foster says, “Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father.” As I chose to move forward in trust and acceptance of an all-knowing, loving God, I became a real worshipper. I discovered that to worship God is to glorify him and enjoy him forever. I could claim Psalm 61:11, “In Thy presence, is fullness of joy…” Real worship of a very real God brings real joy.
The best way for me to demonstrate my worship is by living fully for God. One of the ways I worship God is through pouring out heart to God in prayer. I’ve found the ACTS model to be an effective way to express my worship.
A – Adoration –I begin by acknowledging and praising God. I call out names of adulation and love. “All-knowing, all-powerful God, you are the Good Shepherd, King of Kings, Holy One, Lord of Lords, Creator. You are my God.” Beginning prayer with adoration brings such joy to me and such honor to our Heavenly Father.
C – Confession –After praising God, I focus on my iniquities and frailties. I confess my sins and ask him to make me aware of unacknowledged sins. Then I ask forgiveness.
T – Thanksgiving – Jesus willingly gave his life as payment for my sin. Now it’s time to thank him for the many blessings of life, such as, family, friends, health, job, salvation, and church. A thankful heart transforms me and changes my attitude, as I face the challenges of the day.
S – Supplication – After thanking God for my blessings, I then pray for the needs of my inner world and outer world.
Worship is giving all of me to all of God in pure adoration.