What Is True Worship?
In these days of postmodern thought and spiritual confusion we need to define clearly what it means to "worship."
It goes without saying that worship requires an object. No-one simply worships – they worship something, or rather some person. The word "worship" has two ideas at its root. The first is "worth" and the second is "giving". In short, therefore, worship really means giving its object what it is worth. We should not ask: "What would I enjoy worshipping?" or "I like this idea of worship", but rather, the question to ask is: "What is worth my adoration, my time, my intellect, my support, etc?"
In this connection, we must remember that something is grasping our attention, our respect, our resources all the time, whether we are aware of it or not. Therefore, the question to ask is not do we worship all the time, but what do we worship all the time?
It is vital that we understand that we cannot be the focus of worship – we are the worshippers. We should not ask: "Are we comfortable with this?" or "Would we prefer to do something else?" The question is: "What does the object of our worship require?" The worshippers "give" worship to their God.
Christians worship God because God is "worthy" of their reverence and submission. God is the Creator of all things and the first Cause of everything. God is totally independent of everything – everything is dependent upon Him. God sustains and provides for all things. God is kind and merciful to all. God is supreme in all things. In a very real sense, God made humans so that they would worship Him. God is so vastly superior to us, his vast superiority actually demands our worship of Him.
Worship, for the Christian should involve at least 5 attitudes towards God.
First, there should be the sheer AWE of God. God should make all believers gasp as they contemplate His infinite majesty. A paralytic reverence for God is not out of keeping with genuine worship.
Secondly, there should be FASCINATION for God. God should captivate our whole beings, so that every believer is obsessed with God. God is not merely interesting, He is absorbing.
Thirdly, true worship involves LOVE for God. Sadly, people can be fascinated with things that they should not love (Adolf Hitler for example), yet true worship cannot be separated from genuine love. God is love, and all whom He renews possess, in some degree this love.
Fourthly, it is impossible to truly worship God without CONFIDENCE in God. It is possible to love a person yet be unable to trust them or have confidence in them. God must be trusted. Some people think there is some catch or trick in the gospel when God says: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." They think "believing" is something different from what it normally means. They don't really trust God. Worship means you have confidence in God.
Finally, true worship entails ENGAGING with God. Their must be genuine "contact" with God. There has to be business dealings with God. God is not aloof from His people. Transactions take place between God and His people in worship. There is the confessing of sin and the forgiveness of it. There is the prayer request and then the answer to it – be it negative or positive.
It is significant to note that Christ said after He defined the real people of God as those who "worship Him in spirit and in truth", to the woman of Samaria, "the Father seeks such to worship Him."