When someone brings up the topic of worship, most people automatically think of singing songs during a church service or event – at least, I know that used to be my view of the topic. But as I’ve been leading “worship” over the past few years, I’ve seen my definition of the word change as my relationship with the Lord has deepened.
The word worship literally means “worth-ship”. Giving worth to something. In the Old Testament, we see countless mentions of people giving thanks in worship to the Lord. In the Psalms we see many musical references to worship, and in the New Testament we see lots of letters to churches encouraging them to worship God and not their possessions or status.
So how does that look to a modern day girl? My words certainly aren’t God’s words, however, I’d love to share my view based on my personal experience.
I first picked up a guitar my sophomore year in high school, it was one of the loneliest seasons of my life yet. I had made an abrupt switch to public school for the first time in my life, I had just moved out of the house I had grown up in, my mom was in recovery from a major surgery and was having complications, my dad was jobless and somehow I was stuck in the middle of all the chaos. Friendless, what felt like parentless, and aimless – my escape was found behind the closed door of my stale bedroom, journal, Bible and guitar in hand. I could barely plunk along to a simple worship song consisting of 3 or 4 chords max, yet through my terrible playing, I found my heart in complete surrender to this so-called loving God.
My favorite part of youth group or Sunday morning service was always the worship – at the time I didn’t know why, but I didn’t care. Whatever the reason, it was during worship I could let go of the things my lonely, little heart was grieving over and somehow feel as if it was all going to be okay. This feeling was addicting, it was just about all I had to hold onto – so I spent every bit of free time locked away in my little room, soaking up the peace the enveloped me.
A few years later, music was just part of me – anyone that knew me, knew I wanted to spend my life pursuing some sort of career in music. Somewhere between high school and junior college I had mustered up the strength to begin leading worship publicly and was anxious to share my own personal songs with anyone and everyone who was willing to listen. I was convinced I was to attend Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Refine my musical skills, graduate, land a major recording deal and then my life would be complete. I went to audition and to my surprise – I received a letter of regret, informing me the music program was full and I could, if I wanted, pursue music business instead. Shocked and confused, it hit me – this wasn’t just about me. Sure worship had been a sweet tool God had used to heal my heart and hold my hand in a time of need, but for the first time, I was beginning to see the bigger picture. This thing I’ve fallen in love with, worship, was not about me, but it was about Him. It was about surrendering my life over to Him every single day, handing Him my plans, my desires, my talents and my dreams. It was about showering Him with my love and affection, offering my praise to Him – not to receive praise from man, but simply to show my Savior how valuable He is to me.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
This verse hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only was my musical worship about Him, but my every day life was to be about Him and this too was considered my worship. Everything I did right down to how I thought, how I treated the people around me, how I dressed, how I ate, and how I behaved was to be holy and pleasing to God. After all, He was worthy, right? (Remember that the word worship literally means “worth-ship.”)
One last verse I’ll share to wrap it up – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17
This verse has become one of my favorites – one I’ve made a life verse. We are God’s daughters – His elect, created for His pleasure and handpicked to carry His holy name. Worship is what we do with every minute of every day; it’s the attitude of our heart. It’s the sacrifice we make when choosing to live a life after Him. It’s the praise of our lips and the gratitude we have knowing that because of Him we have been forgiven, we are loved and we have been made free. So lets worship Him! Lets praise Him with our lips and with our lives!