Worth-ship: understanding true worship

WorshipWhy worship? Why does the Bible so frequently tell us to engage in the art and practice of worship? Why is worship such an important arrangement between God and His followers?

And while we’re asking questions, what is worship? Is it singing? Shouting? Kneeling? Meditating? What does it mean to truly worship God? Is worship something that we do at church, or is it something we should be doing on our own? Do we do it for a few minutes during private devotional moments, or can we do it all throughout our days?

Why is worship such a big deal?

Three thoughts: first, of all worship at its simplest level can be defined as worth-ship, the ascription of worth. When we worship—whether we’re worshipping at church, a concert, a basketball game, in nature, or elsewhere—we are ascribing worth to the object that has captivated our soul. This leads to the second thought: we worship because we were created to worship; we are worshippers in the depths of our being.

Worship isn’t a church thing; it’s a human thing. Whether you are religious or not, worship is a part of your life. There is always something in our lives to which we ascribe ultimate worth or value. It can be a relationship, an object, our God, or even ourselves, but regardless of what it is we worship it. We prioritize it and ascribe ultimate worth to it.

Third, God asks us to worship Him because it is the healthiest, most logical thing for worshippers to do. Since we are worshippers innately, God asks us to direct that worship at the most life-giving of sources, Him. He’s not an egotist; He doesn’t need our worship. He’s not up in heaven hearing our praise songs and saying, “Tell me more!” Worship connects us to our purpose—remember we are worshippers—and it connects us to God, the ultimate source of worth. Thus postured—worshippers worshipping the ultimate source of worth—we begin to touch true life.


What is deeper than our nine deepest needs?

bread and waterSociologists and anthropologists have identified nine fundamental human needs. They are, in order: subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity, and freedom.

The order is important. When people are starving they don’t care about the other eight needs until their deep hunger is met. Once hunger is met; however, protection then moves to the top of the charts. Once protection is secured, then humans crave relationship and affection. After that comes understanding, and then participation, etc.

Two points worth noticing are that 1) our deepest needs change based on where we are in life, and 2) there is usually a deeper, more fundamental need than what we are currently craving.

With this understanding that subsistence—food and water—is our top human need, it is absolutely fascinating to read that when God invited Moses to step closer to His revealed presence, Moses went forty days and forty nights without receiving any natural sustenance. “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water” (Exodus 34:28).

Forty days without food would be tough, but forty days without water?? There must be something about the raw presence of God that satisfies us more deeply than even water can.

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him if He was hungry, He replied, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” (John 4:32). He understood what Moses knew. Subsistence is not the most fundamental human need—God is.

True, our bodies can’t live without food or water, but nor can our soul fully live without God. And whereas food and water can add a few additional moments to a natural existence, God’s presence can add an eternity to the soul.

I’m not suggesting that we pray really hard and then stop drinking water (health advisors would say we need to be drinking more). But perhaps we could follow Moses and move a few steps closer to a true relationship with God. Perhaps we would find our need for other things becoming satisfied.

God is easy to live with

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnjoy this powerful Easter reflection from A.W. Tozer’s book The Root of the Righteous.

“The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and His service one of unspeakable pleasure. He is all love, and those who trust Him need never know anything but that love.

He is just, indeed, and He will not condone sin; but through the blood of the everlasting covenant He is able to act toward us exactly as if we had never sinned. Toward the trusting sons of men His mercy will always triumph over justice.

The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul. He is neither sensitive nor selfish not temperamental. What He is today we shall find Him tomorrow and the next day and the next year. He is not hard to please, though He may be hard to satisfy. He expects of us only what He has Himself first supplied. He is quick to mark every simple effort to please Him, and just as quick to overlook imperfections when He knows we meant to do His will.

He loves us for ourselves and values our love more than galaxies of new created worlds.”[1]


[1] A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous (Camp Hill, PA: Wing Spread Publishers, 1955, 2006), 15.


Unexplainable but not Unknowable

cosmosThere’s a difference between things that are unexplainable and unknowable.

I can’t explain exactly how love works, but I’ve been deeply in love with Jessica for twenty years now.

I can’t fully explain how a daughter is able to utterly melt a father’s heart; however, all Maddie and Amber have to do to get their way with me is play the daughter/daddy card.

I would fail miserably if someone asked me give a technical explanation for the law of gravity, and yet I could demonstrate it perfectly, simply by standing still.

Some of the most complex things in life are beyond adequate description—they can’t be fully articulated in the human language—they have to be known.

I can’t explain God to you.

I can talk about Him. I can tell you my experiences. I can point to creation and some things that could only have come from His limitless imagination. I can quote Scriptures and preach sermons, but at the end of the day, God must be known.

He isn’t an idea or a hypothesis or the Jedi’s impersonal “Force.” He is a person—He is THE person—and Jesus showed us what He looks like.

The Apostle Paul said, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9)

The Apostle John said, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made His dwelling among us. And we have seen His glory.” (John 1:14)

The Apostle Peter said, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)

And what about you? What would you say? I know you can’t explain Him, but who do you know Him to be?

He is waiting to be known, and those who seek Him find Him.