Understanding the Attitude of Worship

How we approach worship will determine how successful we are in worship. To cultivate the right attitude, we must develop a better understanding of what Scripture says about worship. Accordingly, once the attitude is fixed, the preparation will follow.
First, worship is action. Previously, we determined that the three most frequent words used for worship all involve action./1 We participate actively in worship rather than sitting back and absorbing worship. This precludes the boredom so many feel in worship because they are too busy to be bored. We are to be engaged in tangible worship emotionally, spiritually, and physically. All aspects of worship involve sharing, whether we are communing in prayer, around the table, in song, or in the Word.
In John 4:24, Jesus says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (NKJV). We are connecting our spirits to God in worship. It is spiritually how we plug into him and actively worship.
We also have truth as our regulator in worship. As Nadab and Abihu learned, worship is only acceptable to God if performed as God has prescribed (Leviticus 10:1-7). We are connected to God with our hearts and minds actively worshiping our Lord. We must gauge our worship by this truth found in the New Testament.
Second, worship is reverent. The Oxford Dictionary defines worship as “reverence or veneration paid to a being or power regarded as supernatural or divine; the action or practice of displaying this by appropriate acts, rites, or ceremonies.”/2 Reverence is a deep respect for the subject of our adoration. We yield our spirits to God as we celebrate his greatness.
In Scripture, reverence and obedience cannot be separated. “Yahweh’s (Jehovah) holiness demands that His people pay reverence to no other gods and that they reflect His holiness in a lifestyle obedient to His commandments.”/3 The Psalmist wrote, “I revere thy commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on thy statutes” (Psalm 119:48, RSV).
Deep respect and adoration of God will alter our attitudes, because our worship will be directed toward God and not toward men. Reverence will prevent us from turning our worship into a production designed to please men. We will, instead, see ourselves at the feet of the Almighty God in Heaven.
In fact, if we would imagine ourselves at the feet of God, we would instantly see dramatic changes in the attitudes of worshipers in our congregations. Imagine physically sitting before the throne of God! Would we talk, laugh, sleep, write notes, giggle, judge the attire of others, wander in and out of the auditorium if we sat at the feet of God? Absolutely not!
Our reverent attitude would be intense and focused. We would praise God without an interest in others. We would seek the approval of God, rather than the applause of men. We would preach for the ears of God, rather than the tickling ears of the sinful (2 Timothy 4:3). We would pray with fervent fear. We would commune around the table with renewed vigor.
Lest we have forgotten, every time we gather in worship we are worshiping before the throne of God. Worship has been defined as “the creature’s response to the Creator who is at once above and yet graciously near.” /4
As we enter the worship of our Lord, let us be prepared mentally and emotionally. God is watching.
/1. http://tinyurl.com/583r8
/2. http://tinyurl.com/4e3dh
/3. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 4:177.
/4. ISBE 4:1131.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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