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Exaltation And Majesty Of The Lord

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    Worship in Scripture indicates a general way of life for the believer and is described as an act of devotion, act of sacrifice, exalting, and magnifying the Lord. Our worship is meant to glorify God with our very own words, thoughts and actions. An important essential for worship is for our heart and mind to be in one accord. Terry Crist in the article Your Worship: Dull or Dynamic? states that, “true worship properly engages the total man- spirit, soul and body.” It is important to have our hearts and minds in the same place and in the right place. Isaiah 1:5-8 is a wonderful example of how the unity of the heart and mind is an important essential. These verses show the consequences of the actions of the Israelites. Here, the Israelites are described as “profoundly weak and ailing” by not being whole in unity with their hearts and minds.

    True worship means “make yourselves clean” before the Lord with our hearts and minds. As believers we will find ourselves cleansed and humbled in His presence as we worship with open hearts. The second essential a worshipper should have is an attitude of humility, honesty and obedience. James 4:10 states, “humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” During the time of worship, our outwardly expression should reflect the condition of our hearts. Isaiah 29:13 says, “These people come near to me and honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” This verse is an excellent example by showing how the Israelites were not worshipping the Lord with authenticity and how the conditions of their hearts were not pleasing to Him. Not only is this essential of worship seen in the Old Testament; but, also in the New Testament in Matthew 15:7-9 (consider Jesus).

    Furthermore, our hearts and attitude towards God should be genuine so we can worship Him in a complete selfless measure. Isaiah 1:12-16 shows that a true worshipper should humble before the Lord with honesty being authentic in His presence. This essential is important because the Lord tells His people in Isaiah 1:10-20 that He will no longer receive offerings from people who are not sincere. (consider proverbs 3:34) Once those essentials are shown and practiced, obedience come naturally as a reflection of the essentials we uphold. The First requirement of worship from the New Testament that would be wonderful to see taught in the church is the act of surrendering. This requirement is seen in the New Testament in Romans 12:1 which clearly states that the act of surrendering should be our “spiritual service of worship.”

    This requirement is also seen in Matthew 16:24-25 where Jesus tells his disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Surrendering before the Lord in worship means coming into His presence with praise and humbly laying down anxiety, troubles, and situations. This act of worship is giving in return with our lives to God for sending His Son a means of salvation. By surrendering we rid ourselves of all that is holding us back from the presence of the Lord and of His peace. This requirement should be taught in order for the church to worship humbly in one accord. A second requirement of worship from that should be taught is hearing and responding to the Word of God in a correct manner. As believers we have a tendency of hearing what is being taught in a service and quickly go about our business and forget what we just heard.

    Very often in a church service there is little time given to reflect and respond to the message. We go, worship, listen to the sermon and quickly leave once the service is over. James 1:22-23 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” These verses show that the need to hear and respond to the Word of the Lord should be a part of our worship. James gets this requirement of worship from Jesus who states the same principle in Matthew 7:24-29. Isaiah 1:10 states the word “hear” which in Hebrew has the implication of obedience. Here, the verse conveys that hearing the word of YHWH is to response in obedience which is a genuine act of worship.

    Lastly, the third requirement of worship would be looking after those in need in our world. This requirement of worship imposes an important essentials of humility and obedience. This act of worship is frequently forgotten and one of the most hardest. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” As a church we took upon the responsibility of making people meet and encounter Christ by the way we approach them. We worship Christ with our humble and genuine actions. The church cannot truly worship if they do not act accordingly to the Scriptures when encountering unbelievers. This requirement of worship is one of the hardest to follow but can we done with the essentials of humility, honesty, obedience and having our hearts and minds unified.

    If I could speak generally to the church about the practice of contemporary worship I would say two main things. We have a habit of prioritizing our church culture instead of realizing we are worshiping our Creator rather than ourselves. Another habit we have is not being sincere with our worship. We prioritizing our church culture to please our aesthetics. Churches have a habit on emphasizing media and lights during the service that it makes it feel like the congregation is at a concert held by the worship team rather than being in the absolute presence of God whom we owe our lives. When we focus on other things rather on worshipping our Lord and Savior, we end up being just like the Israelites who would give sacrifices but were not genuine. When we worship, we are expected to stay righteous because righteousness is a “concrete symbol of God’s presence.”

    Therefore, we should be focus on being more genuine during our contemporary worship service instead of prioritizing our church culture. A way the church can truly be genuine in their worship is to fully worship by giving it their all. True worship is by fully giving our every part during a worship session or again with our actions. As a church we must be faithfully placing everything at the altar so we can worship wholeheartedly. Psalm 86:3 says, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.” This verse is an excellent example we should live by so can always make our worship authentic. As a church we need to make that our daily priority.

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