Worship is the act of surrendering before God. It is the process by which we lay our lives upon God’s altar and offer ourselves to Him. This is where we decide to pay the cost to follow Jesus, and it is the beginning of our journey of follow Him. We cannot follow Jesus without understanding and basing our lives upon the act of worship.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom 12:1.)
In authentic worship, we do not simply sing about Jesus, but we minister to Him. As we exalt Him, we surrender our lives before Him and submit ourselves to His will. True worship must be the centre of the life of every Christian, minister and church. Crucially, for worship to be genuine, it must involve a sacrifice before God.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Heb 13:15-16.)
“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” (Ps 51:16- 17.)
The sacrifice that we bring Jesus is the sacrifice of our hearts and our lives. We place everything that we have upon His altar that we might come after Him. Counterfeit worship talks of Jesus but never encounters Him because no sacrifice is made before Him. It is easy to religiously sing Christian choruses or hymns without having that reality of surrendering ourselves before Him. Although we may have the right words or sing the right song, it means nothing if our hearts are not laid out before God.
“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matt 15:8.)
God inhabits real praise and worship (Ps 22:3,) He does not just hear it, He lives in it. True worship is in His Spirit, (John 4:24) it is in unity with Him and what he is doing. A person or church that understands the cost of following Jesus will be rooted in a lifestyle of worship. The result of this will be that they will not just talk about God but will actual be in Him. They will represent His glory and His character. More than anything else, we need to have an understanding and an outworking of real worship in our churches if we are to see them become places that honestly represent the reality of God in our nations.