“Worship is the priority of life!”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Worship is the most important activity of life. Our Creator made us for worship. A practical Christian definition of worship is to love, honor and obey God. Worship is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, in part, as “reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.” The source of the word is an Old English compound word, worth-ship. It described the devotion and obedience that a knight offered to his sovereign. In kneeling down before the king, the knight would bow his head, offering the back of his neck to the king’s sword. In so doing the knight was visibly displaying to the king that his life would be forfeit if he failed to serve the king.
Worship is fundamentally about our primary relationship. It is about our relationship to God. God made us to worship Him. But because of sin, we naturally seek to make our own gods to worship. The great reformer, John Calvin said this, “Every one of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” Acts II: 413 Worship is central to the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. Luke recorded the excuses of people who put conditions on following Jesus, Luke 9:57-62. If Jesus is the center of our life, worship of Him will be the desire of our heart.
Following Jesus, being a disciple, is a major theme of the gospel according to Luke. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” The desire to worship God is a mark of a genuine follower of Jesus.
Because God made man to worship, He declared to His people that He alone was to be worshiped, Exodus 20:1-3. God’s people are forbidden to bow down to or serve any man-made image or likeness of God, Exodus 20:4-5. He is the LORD and besides Him there is no God, Isaiah 45:18. Any worship that is not based in God’s word is false and is idolatry, John 4:23-24.
God is the object of true worship. He has revealed Himself in His word written and Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ. To make things even more direct, Jesus said that God the Father is the one who seeks worshipers, John 4. Though we have been made to worship God, He seeks us because we are sinners in love with self.
Paul quoted the Psalms and wrote that no one seeks after God, Psalm 14:2; Romans 3:11. Even though God has made His existence plain for all to see by what He has made, men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. We are eager to fulfill our desire to worship and often do so by erecting idols. Idols are the things that control our lives.
Normally in Evangelical Protestant Churches, we don’t see people bowing down to or serving carved images. But, we must honestly reflect upon those things that we seem to value the most and serve. In other words, we are: loving, honoring and obeying things and people (like family) more than God!
However, Christians profess to live under the Lordship of Christ. We claim to love, honor and obey God. We claim to have a deep and intimate personal relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. We all know that worship is not only a weekly event. Worship is what we do every moment, every day of our lives. We also affirm that God’s has given His people a desire to worship Him with other believers. The Apostle Paul, made the reality of worship clear to those who have experienced God’s saving grace. “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.” Romans 12:1 God through the human author of Hebrews exhorts believers, not to neglect meeting together, Hebrews 10:25. Those who were born again in concert with God’s word and Spirit through Peter’s preaching demonstrated the change wrought in them. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42
Christian, has anything usurped the priority of worship in your life, especially on the Lord’s Day?