If you were to ask people what worship to God looks like there would be many thoughts and opinions. Many would bring up God’s Word, singing and praying but is that what worship is all about? Worship happens when we really grasp onto what God is doing and our lives are changed because of it. Worship is more than singing or even just showing up to church, it is about giving your life to God fully.
Read Nehemiah 9:1-5
1) True Worship involves confessing your sins.
The people went from a joyous feast to now fasting because they had been convicted of their sins.This was a six hour worship service with three hours of preaching and three hours of praying. Many Christians walk around with sin in their lives that they do not think are a big deal or even a sin. We tend to get angry over the sins of others while ignoring the sin in our own lives.
Sackcloth was a sign of mourning and their outward appearance demonstrated how they felt on the inside. Remember, this was all brought on because they were listening and understanding the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The word of God is joyful, comforting and brings hope but it also brings conviction and like a scalpel will cut out the things in your life that do not need to be there. Surgery is not a bad thing when you have things in your body that need to be removed so that you are no longer harmed by them. Many cancers can be eliminated if they are discovered and removed early enough to keep them from killing the person. The Word of God will show you the things in your life that God wants to remove because the word of God gets past the exterior of your life, where you can fake it, and gets to the root of the sin you have growing inside of you. The Word of God gets into your thoughts and intentions which no one else can see but God will reveal your true nature.
God’s Laws are given to us for our benefit and protection and although they may be painful at times we know they are always given out of love. Deuteronomy 10 says that we follow the Lord for our good. John 15:11 says that He told us these things so that His joy will be in us and our joy will be complete. If you view God’s word as being an outdated book which is irrelevant for today then you will miss out on how much the God of the universe loves you and wants what is best for you life.
1 John 1:5-9 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The more time you spend with God the more things you will see in your own life that He calls sins. True worship will always involve you confessing your sins which simply means you are in agreement with God that what you were doing was wrong. One of the problems with our society today is that many things the Bible calls sins are no longer seen as such. We call things lifestyle choices which is just a simple way of saying that this is how I want to live my life. If we do believe something to wrong we no longer call ourselves sinners but only mistakers. It is no longer called adultery it is now called an affair. It is no longer called stealing from your business but now we call it fraud. It is a white lie or a half truth or simply this is how I am and how I was raised. We reshape our words to make what we have done seem like it is not as bad as it really is but the reality is God calls it a sin.
The bible says that sin separates us from God but if we ignore our sins by not calling them sins then we have no need to confess them to a Holy God. Dr. Jerry Bridges wrote a book called respectable sins and he list, ungodliness, anxiety and frustration, discontentment, unthank fullness, pride, selfishness, lack of self-control, impatience, irritability, anger, judgmental, envy, jealousy, sins of the tongue, and worldliness. Many of these sins are accepted amongst the Christian community today but God still hates them because He knows they go against His nature and they destroy His people.
The people, as they heard and understood the word of God, began confessing the sins that were acceptable in their culture. We have many sins we have accepted that our culture says are just normal behavior. We need to rid ourselves of these by giving our lives totally to God in all the areas we have ignored. Like a person who ignores the cancer that is growing in their body, sin in our lives will only get worse not better. Allow the conviction of God to do surgery on your life and even though it seems painful now you will never regret how God will transform your life.
“The first step in dealing with any sin is to acknowledge it and repent in one’s attitude toward it. This doesn’t mean we will make rapid progress in getting those sins out of our lives. The flesh doesn’t give up that easily. Rather, to us Paul’s term, these subtle sins must be ‘put to death’ (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5) Furthermore, we have developed habits of sinning. We have developed habits of ungodly thinking: anxiety, self-indulgence, critical attitudes, gossip, and the like.” (Dr. Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins)
2) True Worship involves repenting of your sins
“And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins“
Many people are sorry about their actions but then they keep doing what they have always done. Repentance means a change of mind leading to a change in ones actions. The mind is so important because what you believe will determine how you act. The people knew that they had to make some changes because their lives looked identical to the world that they were living in.
“Someone now warns us lest we become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. Brother, this generation of believers is not, by and large, suffering from such a complex! The brutal soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use.” (Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries, Pg 28)
Every part of our lives are an act of Worship toward God and when we stop living the same way of the world God is honored and it serves to be an act of worship to Him. Coming to church and hearing the Word of God can be an act of worship but making changes and living your life for Christ is a true act of worship.
One of the things that set the Israelites apart from the surrounding nations was the fact that they did not have any idols like those who surrounded them. (See Psalm 115) Our culture has Idols even though they may not be statues that they bow down to. Kyle Idleman in his book “gods at war” mentions several gods that we tend to worship just like the world does. The god of food, the god of success, the god of entertainment, the god of money, the god of achievement, and the god of romance. When we give our lives to those things then we are not giving our lives to God.
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We are not to do things just because the rest of the world does them. We need to repent and turn away from the gods the world worships.
3) True Worship is living our lives for His Glory.
Another way we worship God is by living everyday as if we are serving Him. One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. is “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Our entire lives are to be lived as worship back to God and a testimony for the rest of the world. Everything we do, no matter what we do, is Holy unto God and a worship service when we do everything for His glory. School, Work, chores around the house should be seen as a worship to God by doing them to the best of our ability and with the right attitude. You honor God when you do your best. You honor God when you obey your parents. You honor God when you give your employer an honest day’s work.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
If we are going to be the salt and light to the world that we are supposed to be then we have to live our lives differently than the rest of the world in the things we are called to do.
Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
We are no good to the world when we are just like the world because then the world will not see that the way they are living is not God’s design for their life. We are no good to the world when we think that everyone can define their own truth instead of knowing that God has established the truth.
The problem is that the world is not always going to like that we do not worship the same idols they worship. In our tolerant society they will not be tolerant of you because you remind them of what they are not.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
When you repent and get rid of the idols like the rest of the world they will not understand and will even ridicule you. This is where repentance becomes difficult and you have to choose if you are going to follow God or the rest of the world.
True worship means you confess and repent of your sins. It is acknowledging to God that He is the one who determines what is right and wrong and what is true and false. What gods or idols do you have in your life that you are worshiping instead of worshiping God?Will you confess them today? Will you get rid of them?