Worship is the act of giving worth to God. It is the primary reason for which we have been created. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord declared that all of His people have been made for His glory (Isaiah 43:6). Worship is the act of maintaining this relational dynamic. It is a spiritual practice whereby we set our souls upon Him. In order to live up to our original purpose, we must understand the nature of true worship. Consider three requirements.
Real worship isn’t hit or miss, flighty, or inconsistent. It involves consistency and continuity. It’s not just an aspect of life; it is a way of life There are times for scheduled worship — specially devoted occasions on which we gather with God’s people for corporate praise and the public proclamation of God’s Word (Colossians 3:16 and Hebrews 10:24-25). In addition, each of us should plan secret times of private prayer and praise (Matthew 6:6). However, we must be on guard against what I call the “God in a box routine.” Through such a practice, we limit God to certain spots on our schedule. We segment our lives, and separate worship to its own little time. The remainder of our calendar is filled with hurried pursuits which reflect little of God’s presence. The Lord desires for His people to live differently. They are to “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and they are to continually keep their “eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter” of their faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Real worship costs something. It involves a personal sacrifice. Modern believers have missed this. They’ve allowed a consumer-driven society to dupe them into thinking that worship is about them. They approach preaching and praise for what they can get, not what they can give. If songs and Scriptures aren’t served up the way they like it, they start looking for another church where they can “get fed.” The Bible knows little of the me-centered Christianity which exists today. The author of Hebrews proclaimed, “Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name” (Hebrews 13:5). Real worship involves a sacrifice of the soul and self. David knew this. That’s why he was insistent to pay for the place upon which he would build an altar to the Lord (2 Samuel 24:18-25)
It’s so easy to get distracted in worship. If we are not vigilant, our minds can easily wander. Before we know it, we’ve lost sight of what’s important. Our attention is fixed on mundane things, and we have little regard for God. In both the public and private occasions of worship, we must be careful to maintain a godward focus. The Israelites had a habit which reminded them of this significant matter while in captivity. Whenever they prayed or worshipped from the place of exile, they directed their gaze towards their home — Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:33-36 and Daniel 6:10). In the New Testament age, Jesus has instructed us to do something similar. We are to fix our attention on our heavenly home (Matthew 6:9). By having this focus, we will naturally place our attention on our Heavenly Father (Colossians 3:1-2).