What Is Worship?

I think we’ve made a mistake as the Church over the last several decades. We’ve taken a word and oversimplified its meaning, actually stripping it of its actual purpose. That word is WORSHIP. If you asked the average person in your church what worship was, they would, about 90 times out of 100, say it’s music. Given what we use the word “worship” for, that actually makes a lot of sense. We invite people to “worship” with us during the music portion of our services. We hire people called “worship” leaders and “worship” ministers, and their main purpose is the music in the “worship” service on Sunday mornings. We even have an entire genre of “worship” music in the Christian music space. Somehow, we’ve taken a lifestyle and turned it into an event or a time and place. The Bible seems to have a different definition of “worship”.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, 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, 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.
Romans 12:1–2

Notice that there is no mention of music there. Does that mean music can’t be worship? Absolutely not! We can worship through music, but that’s not the point of that scripture. Paul is saying here that our worship is something we live out through the constant growth of our faith. We are to make ourselves wholly God’s. He gets everything, and through that, we are able to live lives that are a daily worship service to Him.

At its base, we could probably stop there, but let’s take some time to talk through the different ways we worship throughout the day. One of the first questions we need to ask ourselves is, “What are we putting into our minds each day?” Do we start our day off in scripture and prayer, or are we listening and watching radio/talk shows with crass joking and gossip? What movies and TV shows are we watching? What book are we reading? Garbage in, garbage out is a term that’s been used in computing since the 70’s. The idea is that when you input worthless info, worthless info is what you will also spew out. What we allow INTO our lives can easily become the basis FOR our lives.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15–17

It’s important to guard our hearts from things outside of God’s plan. It’s so easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the ways and desires of this world we live in, but a life of worship knows when to say no.

Another way we can live lives of worship is to start each day focused on God and give him the first moments of our day.

The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
Isaiah 50:4

Clinical studies have shown that morning routines are one of the best ways to build good habits, find meaning for the day, and live happier. That alone should be an encouragement to get in the Word each morning. There’s also something to be said about getting into the Bible each day that helps us in our understanding and overall knowledge of it. Paul talks about this in 2 Timothy.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
 2 Timothy 2:15

One of the best ways to do this is to start each day off in prayer and study. When worship is our lifestyle, we long to be in God’s Word, and starting each day with it will only strengthen our relationship with God and our knowledge of how to handle God’s Word.

One more way that we can live a worship lifestyle is through our interactions with others. Do we love those around us? Do we share the love of God with others around us? Do we share God with others around us? Notice how each of those sentences built on the one before. If we love those around us, we should be sharing our faith with them.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
 Matthew 5:14–16

Music is a wonderful way to worship God, but we can’t limit our worship to just that. God is looking for a people that ARE worship. It’s an undeniable trait that we exude in our daily lives. God is so much more worthy of our worship than anything or anyone else.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4:23–24


Emily - January 22nd, 2024 at 8:13am

Well said! Great Job 🙌🏻

John Kelley - January 22nd, 2024 at 9:31am

Thank you!