“Hey Kia. How would you feel about preaching on ‘Worship as a Lifestyle’?”
Feeling my phone in my back pocket, I grabbed it and glanced over the text while continuing to pack for a weekend away with the youth. “Worship as a lifestyle…”, I thought, “…should be easy enough!” In that moment, I didn’t give it any further thought as I quickly replied “I’d love to! Thanks for the opportunity!” Soon after replying, the words sunk in: Worship. As. A. Lifestyle.
A few months ago, I got into a conversation with a good friend about worship. I was sharing with her about some amazing God encounters I had through “Burn 24-7”, a worship movement with a passion of seeing people focused and connected with God (google it! It’s amazing!) As I shared with her about how excited I was for an upcoming weekend-long “Burn” in Edinburgh, she interrupted me –
“Man, I am so glad that Heaven isn’t going to look like me singing 24/7 for all of eternity.”
Now, hearing her say that surprised me because: 1) she has a beautiful singing voice, 2) she was a part of her church’s choir, and 3) I had automatically assumed that because she could sing, she best connected with God through music.
“Although I know singing will play a part in Heaven, I’m so thankful that I’ll be able to take hikes and go explore Heaven with God because that is how I feel most intimate with Him”,
There is no doubt that music and songs have an important role in worship! However, music is not worship. Songs are not worship. Dancing is not worship. Art is not worship. Flag-waving is not worship. These are all amazing expression of worship, but they are not worship. Worship is our connection with God, our relationship with Jesus, our growth with Holy Spirit.
If you look up the definition of “worship”, you are likely to find: a) bowing down before something/someone | b) a feeling and expression of reverence and adoration.
It’s a common misconception to associate “worship” with music/songs especially in a church context. As the band gets up, we are used to hearing “Now, let’s enter into a time of worship.” We stand up. We sing. We may even put our hands up once or twice. Then, when the music stops, we sit down and focus our attention on something else, suggesting that worship has ceased. But, worship is so much more!
Worship is all about our heart attitude! Worship is the outflow from our reverence and adoration of God- bowing down before Him laying all things aside and acknowledging His Glory. When we worship God, we give Him the place He deserves in our lives and is so worthy of.
Romans 12: 1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform 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.
Because of what God has done for you, is doing for you and will do for you- your life should reflect worship to Him! But why is it so important? Because you and I- we were created to worship!
Whatever your beliefs, whether Christian or not, you put your attention, adoration and focus on something/someone- because it’s in your nature! Be it: relationships, Netflix, your phone, social media, clothes, money, status… We all strive to have a connection with something/someone.
Are you familiar with the story of Moses? He was chosen by God to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. He goes to Pharaoh and says: “Let my People Go”. Did you know that there is a second sentence? Until about two weeks ago- I didn’t!
Exodus 8:1:“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go back to Pharaoh and announce to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.”
The Israelites had been in captivity for many years working endlessly as slaves. Through Moses, God not only gave them freedom, promised them a new land, and provided for their needs, but He reminded them of their purpose: to worship Him! As the story continues, the Israelites do what humans always tend to do: forget about God and focus on themselves which made God angry- not because He had used a lot of energy and effort getting them out of Egypt (Pfft! What effort? He’s God! He just SPOKE the earth into existence!) ,but He was angry out of jealousy. He was jealous for their attention, affection and adoration. And guess what? He is jealous FOR YOU too. He is jealous for your focus and intimacy- He doesn’t want to share you with Netflix, Facebook, friends, work, etc. He wants all of you all the time!
I know that life isn’t easy and there are things that we must do that end up distracting us: work, friends, family, social life, volunteering, business, stress… However, what you need to understand is that through it all, if you gaze your eyes on Him- He will bless you in return! How amazing is that? When you put God at the centre of your life and grow in relationship with Him, He not only fulfills your every need but goes above and beyond to provide for you. Why consume yourself with things of this world that provide momentary happiness, when the King of Kings has all you need and more! His goodness is overwhelming- as we love Him, grow in relationship with Him, get to know Him and hold Him above ourselves: He continually blesses us.
Worship is a lifestyle choice. If you’re a Christian- when you said “yes” to Jesus, you began your “eternity journey”, and it’s a difficult one. In this journey, you must surrender to what the world has to offer and focus on God on a daily basis. You must stop worshipping everything else and focus on your relationship with God, prioritizing your connection with Him (reading the Bible daily, praying, show up to work with a smile, being generous toward a waitress, lending a helping hand to a neighbor, encouraging a stranger, setting an example for others). But worship is also pouring out to Him: our reality, our sorrow, our lament, our worries- knowing that these things are true “BUT GOD!”
Worship as a lifestyle is recognizing that you can’t just live your life as you please and then come to church saying: “Ok, worship team, I hope you have the right songs to get me connected to God” or “Ok, preacher, I’m ready for God to speak to me through your talk this morning”. Church isn’t for connecting with God. Church is meant for reconnecting with God! It is your responsibility to connect with God throughout your daily routine and keep your spiritual well full. And by “full”, I don’t mean to the top of the line, but by “full” I mean overflowing!- constantly being poured into by God and constantly pouring out to others. If we commit to having God be the focus of our lives, others will see Him in and through us.
John 4:23:But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.
Worship as a lifestyle looks like saying:
“God, I need more of you, than I need anything else”.