I have been seeking to learn to worship God in a manner that truly honors God as God.
I have not always felt this strong drive to worship God even though I have been a disciple for over 40 years. I have experienced the goodness of God in my life. I have said some deeply emotional prayers, as well as my share of rote or canned prayers. At times I have viewed prayer as a way to get what I want. I have prayed prayers from true faith, and at times I have merely mouthed words. In my quest for true deeper worship I am not talking about prayers like that. I am talking about learning to talk to God in a way that honors Him as God.
As I study the Word of God and see who He is through the character, life and sacrifice of Jesus, I am moved to worship Him. Another factor that moves me to worship God is seeing my sins, especially those things that are deep in my heart. Examples of deeper heart issues include doing the right things for the wrong reasons; doing good things because they are expected; resenting using my time and resources for others but doing it anyway; not being totally honest about my feelings; judging others, and the like.
The more that these things are revealed to me, the greater my appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus becomes, and the more intense my desire to worship Him. The deeper I see inside my soul the more drawn I am to honor Him.
The Heart’s Stance in Worship
In my quest to worship God I found that giving thanks to God is a major facet of worshiping Him, but to truly thank God requires a heart stance and understanding about our “selves” and God.
Romans 1: 20-21 reveals a truth about man’s relationship to God: “ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans 1:20-21 reveals the heart stance and understanding that we must have before God in order to worship Him. Simply stated, we have to acknowledge God as the Creator and our “selves” as His creation – under Him. It is from this stance that we can honor God and give Him thanks. When we refuse to glorify God as God and do not give Him thanks we become more and more darkened in our thinking and unable to understand spiritual truths.
Honoring Self Hinders Honoring God
In the gospels we see religious leaders who surely should know and worship God. Although these men practice religion, they do not really honor God. In John 5:43-44, Jesus infers it is because they seek their own glory: “For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.”
They do not honor God because they are honoring themselves among men. Seeking our own honor hinders our ability to honor God, and it hinders our ability to believe. Therefore, as a “worshiper” of God, I need to ask myself some hard questions: Who do I really seek to honor, God or myself? What are the subtle ways that I honor myself over God?
Thanksgiving and Worship
In Psalm 50:23, the psalmist reveals that thanking God is like offering a sacrifice that honors God, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”
Ps. 69:30-31 states that to praise God with thanksgiving is more pleasing to Him than offering a sacrifice, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.”
Hebrews 13:15 states that in Jesus we can continually worship God in a way that gives thanks to His name, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
So in this quest I am learning to put God in His place over me by acknowledging in my daily life that He is God, my Creator, and I am His creation under His rule and authority.
Honoring God involves giving Him thanks in praise. I thank Him for who He is and what He does. I thank Him for: His steadfast love and faithfulness, His mercy, His grace to me, His power and help, His wisdom and truth, and so much more. The more I know Him, the more I praise Him with thanksgiving.
“Therefore, since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us be filled with gratitude, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Heb.12:28