As a “first worshiper” (worship leader), one of the most important things I can do is to try to help people understand what worship is. This is a seemingly simple task that can be very challenging because, no matter how much I explain it, nothing will happen if the people I lead don’t take action themselves. It’s like trying to explain swimming to a person. There is only so much information you can absorb before you have to get into the water and go for it. Worship is both simple and deep which makes any effort to define it either trite or laborious.
Despite these challenges, here is one definition you may have heard me or someone else use before:
Worship is when we honor God for who he is, for what he has done, and when we say yes to his invitation.
I would love to expound on each of these three parts, but that might take a while. The most important thing about the first two is that they involve our acknowledgement and our adoration for God’s attributes and actions. Today I would like to focus more extensively on the third part of the definition, our response to God.
What does it mean to respond to God, and what should our response be? There are many types of responses. If I ask you a question you can respond to me either with a grunt, a one-word answer, or a paragraph that goes far beyond what I asked. So it’s important that we don’t just respond to God, but how we respond is crucial. As I’ve thought about it, two traits come to mind that are inherent to our response to God: surrender and invitation.
After I have acknowledged and adored God for who he is and what he has done, my response to him is first in surrender. He is king and I am not. I surrender my will, my heart, all of my life to his will and his purpose. Surrender leads to obedience, which is the mark of a disciple (John 14:15). I don’t hold back or fight for my own rights. I know that what he has for me is best and I give myself wholly to him. I step down from the throne of my heart and give him his rightful place as king over my life.
Once I have surrendered to him, my natural next step is to invite, to plead, to ask him to consume me, to change me, to give me more of his Spirit to guide me and transform my life. Since there is no end to God, I can spend a lifetime (and eternity) asking him to draw me higher up and deeper in to who he is.
This isn’t an exercise meant only for times of corporate worship or singing songs. Worship of God goes far beyond that. Any time of day or night, I can in my heart yield myself fully to him and ask for more of him in my life. And you can do the same.
So today may your day be full of continuous worship walking in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5). I can promise you that you will find depths of peace, joy, and contentment that cannot be found anywhere else.