Big Worship

Psalm 95: 6

Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

This is a famous scripture on worship. It is a call to worship. It is also an Old Testament call and we certainly think differently on worship these days, but, do we have a good definition of worship now? Do we really know what worship is? How many of us kneel to worship? Do we consider kneeling or bowing down a form of worship? Search the Old Testament and you will find a lot of bowing down. I am not saying there is anything wrong with it. I am simply suggesting that the reality is that our ideas about worship have changed yet we haven’t fully grasped, especially in a way we can recite, what our current ideas of worship include. Today, I would like to suggest something for you to think about and perhaps include in your definition of worship.

I had the thought last week that the highest form of worship is fellowship with God. Is that a stretch? Imagine yourself as the first person on the earth. What did worship look like then? Worship to God is not what we, as humans, make it to be. When men have sought worship for themselves it usually involved a lot of bowing and kowtowing. God does not have an ego problem. He does not need people groveling on the ground before Him in order to feel good about Himself. I think there must be more to it than submission.

I had a splendid time with the Lord one day last week; you know, one of those days when His presence was just louder and stronger than some others. At the end of the day, I remarked at my journaling especially. His tone was so different from normal. He was almost childlike in His enthusiasm. Over and over I tried to capture the word for His tone. Was it more personal, more intimate? One thing that became clear is that it was less deific, less like the all-powerful God and more like a Father, even like a friend. I heard His enthusiasm, even excitement. This led me into further contemplation until I arrived at the epiphany that worship is fellowship.

There is not greater level of worship than fellowship with God, nothing He would prefer than time with you. You see, to fellowship with God is to express many things you believe and even feel about Him. First of all, if your fellowship is “hanging out with God” what does that say? It says that you believe He is real, that He is more than a far removed deity, that He cares about your thoughts, that He wants to spend time with you and that He is a personal Father, a personal friend. Can you see this? Worship can become so formal or ritualistic that it takes on the form of an idol. Even in our personal worship time, many of us have stagnated so that our worship has lost any true flavor. God is not a God of ritual. That is all us. We turn worship, praise and prayer into religion and that is not what He wants. He wants us to hang out with Him, to talk with Him as if we are conversing with our very best friend. Do you see why, then, I think this is the very highest form of worship. It is an absolute admission that God is my friend and that I want to spend time with Him. I am declaring to Him that spending time with Him is important to me. It is not something I have to do but rather something I want to do. What would you say if your kids just wanted to come hang out with you. Is there a higher compliment, especially when they don’t want anything from you?

Don’t get me wrong. There should be no reconstruction of this devotional to say I do not believe in worship. According to Wikipedia worship is “the expression of reverence or adoration.” Two comments on this definition: first, it is a human definition, second, there is no articulation of groveling in the dirt. As a human definition goes, I think it is appropriate but ask yourself how God would define worship. Secondly, even in this definition, which must fall short of God’s, the essence is being in love with God. Adoration is at the head. So, worship God with your time. Leave the religion on the altar and just hang out with your best friend.

Grace, Love and Fellowship

2 Corinthians 13: 14

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

This is Paul’s closing in his second letter to the Corinthians. He is sending his best wishes, hopes and prayers to them just as many of us do in the closings of our letters. The best that Paul can come up with is what he includes in his prayer for them. I find it interesting which gift he associates with each part of God. Paul would have known each part of God intimately and would have been very aware of the gifts of each of them. He would have known what flows from each of them and by and through this we can know what personifies each of them and what we can expect from each of them. 

God is love. We’ve heard it over and over again but so many times we fail to really appreciate that love is God’s substance; his very nature. He is made up; constructed of love and it overflows him. He has love in abundance to give each of us.

Grace flows from Jesus. His sacrifice has bathed us in grace. His grace covers us. His pardoning grace has saved us and made the way for us to bask in the love of the Father.

What of the Holy Spirit? What can we expect of him? We can expect to fellowship with him. We can hang out with him, talk with him, receive instruction and inspiration from him. Paul would not have prayed that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with the church at Corinth unless it was attainable. We are living in a new age. We are living in the age of the Holy Spirit. He is here for us in ways that were not possible in any previous age. Because of the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus, the Holy Spirit has been sent to us to make his abode with us. He has come to lead us, guide us, and teach us.

May the grace of the Lord, the love of the Father and the intimate presence of the Spirit of God fill your day and your life.