Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness (Psalm 29:1–2, esv).
Some Christians claim worship is more than singing—that making a meal, cleaning the car, helping a neighbor are all acts of worship. When those acts are the outgrowth of our love for God and are done to demonstrate that love, they are worshipful, but technically they are not worship.
The very purpose for our existence is worship. And if we want to accurately embrace that purpose, we need to use a precise definition. Worship is the act of ascribing worth directly to God. Worshipful actions may do this indirectly, but when the Bible commands and commends worship as our highest expression, it is not talking about anything other than the direct, intentional, vertical outpouring of adoration. While that does not have to be set to music, it does have to be direct.
Psalm 29:1–2 defines worship with surgical precision: “Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.” These thoughts are echoed clearly in 1 Chronicles 16 and Psalm 96. Worship involves the mind, emotions, and will engaged in whole-person ascription of worth to the One who is worthy.
Nothing brings glory down in church as quickly and as powerfully as when God’s people unashamedly adore God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Not just a few enthusiasts in the front row when the service starts, but a room packed to the walls with fired-up Christians. Not simply testimony to the personal benefits of believing the gospel, but passionate ascription of worth to the God of the gospel.
A whole body of believers worshiping with their whole beings displays the only thing the church has to offer this world: “Is it not in [God’s] going with us, so that we are distinct . . . from every other people on the face of the earth” (Exodus 33:16)?
Worship leads to God’s manifest presence. This will be irresistibly attractive or shockingly offensive to a watching world. But the onlookers are not really responding to us; they are responding to God and His call to those He is drawing to Himself.
A biblical understanding of worship always involves the Church, but the Church is comprised of individual worshipers. If you consider yourself an active, engaged, serving member of your church and long to see God display His glory when you gather, then consider how you worship. You can’t expect others to fully engage in ascribing worth to God if you aren’t prepared to do so.
Make time to prepare your heart for worship and pray for your pastor and leaders. Ask God to give you a fresh awareness of who He is that you might ascribe to Him even more of the honor He deserves. Fully expect to meet with the One who is worthy when you worship. He will not disappoint you.
Lord, You alone are worthy of my highest worship. You are merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness. Thank You for who You are and what You have done in my life—for loving me, choosing me, saving me, making Your home in me, and bringing me safely home to You. Teach me to worship You with my mind, emotions, and will. Help me to encourage others in worship. I want to lift high the name and fame of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and I pray in His powerful name, amen.