The highest calling and privilege of man is to bring honor and glory to the Creator through a life of worship. This is the very reason we were created – to put a smile on God’s face! But what is worship? I have come to believe worship is giving all who I am to all who He is to position Him in His rightful place on the throne of my life. It requires giving my mind’s attention, heart’s affection and life’s ambition fully to the Lord.
In 1 Chronicles 16:29, we find an amazing passage calling us to the heart of worship.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the LORD, families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
As I reflect on this amazing passage of ascription to the Lord, I am struck by the phrase, “bring an offering.” I am reminded that authentic worship requires I bring something to the dance – and what I am to bring is me as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). My very life is to be an act of worship. So whether I am gathering with other believers to worship or spending time alone with God in solitude, I am called to live for the single purpose of putting a smile on God’s face.
Unfortunately, I fear we have moved into an era where we have substituted worship at church for the true worship of God. We have mistakenly exchanged singing songs and getting lost in the emotion of the moment for life submission to the heart and purposes of God. This is not to say the elements of the corporate gathering are frivolous, but that they are only one dimension of meaningful and fulfilling worship.
As I have searched the Scripture, I have come to believe the activity of worship must first occur in solitude before it can ever be warranted in public. A worship leader friend once asked a powerful question in the corporate worship setting I have not soon forgotten – “Have you brought your worship with you today.” This question pierced me because I have long understood that worship is not something we do on Sunday morning for 30 minutes to music; it is a disposition of surrender in every aspect of our lives 24/7/365.
To be a contributor in the corporate worship setting requires that we have been a private worshipper the other days of the week. In reflecting on Psalm 51, David reminds us that God does not delight in our manufactured offerings but in a broken and contrite heart. What I have discovered in my own experience is when I worship privately, God washes over me to humble and teach me about how great He really is and how He desire to live and move in and through me. This occurs because in private worship there is no false pretense – it is just you and God. In private worship we draw near to the Father to become the living sacrifice he longs for us to become publicly.