Cultivate a Life of Worship
Having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. --Mark 1:35
"Worship is something we do. Studying the theology of worship and debating the forms of worship are all good, but by themselves they are inadequate. In the final analysis we learn to worship by worshiping."
Willingly offer yourself to the Lord as an instrument for worship. Learn to let go of your agenda, your concerns, your being blessed, and your hearing of the Word of God. The language of the gathered fellowship is not "I," but "we." Surrender to the ways of God; submit to others in the Christian fellowship; desire that God's life will rise up in the group, not just within you. Seek to become of one mind, of one accord. Cultivate a life of complete spiritual dependency—completely dependent upon God for anything significant to happen. The work is God's and not yours. Start this by praying before you do anything; invite the Lord's presence, blessing, and guidance. Then give Him all the credit for anything good that happens.
Guard yourself from exposure to harmful influences that will kill worship. Cultivating worship also involves dealing with all the weeds that grow and choke the growth of your crop, as well as the pests that try to steal the harvest. For example, some of us are in the high-risk category for skin cancer. So what should we do? We should stay away from exposure to those deadly UV rays. Since all of us are prone to soul cancer that eats away at our worship, we should avoid having a lot of exposure to TV rays because they distract, deaden, and deflate the welling up of our souls in worship to God! If you cannot fast from TV, newspapers, and magazines for even a week, then you are a very weak Christian, and at risk spiritually.
Part of learning to cultivate worship is learning how to drown out distractions through prayers of gratefulness to God. Rather than feeling that distractions somehow deter us from worshiping God, we should learn to simply receive whatever happens at home, in a gathered worship experience, or other places of private worship, as God tests our spirit. Grumbling and complaining cannot be successfully partnered with a spirit of adoration and worship!
The Fruits of Worship Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. --Hebrews 13:15
Did you know that there will be many times that you will not "feel" like worshiping? Perhaps you have had so many disappointing experiences in the past that you think it is hardly worth it because there is such a low sense of the power of God. Even so, you still need to offer the sacrifice of worship to God.
The sacrifice of worship gets offered to God himself. It is vital that you join other saints to amplify your worship. When we are gathered for genuine worship, we are like a heap of burning coals encouraging one another to warmth of love and devotion. One log by itself cannot burn for very long, but when many logs are put together, even if they are poor logs, they can make quite a fire. Remember the counsel of Proverbs 27:17 that iron sharpens iron. Even rather dull lives can help each other if they are willing to try.
Go to church...
even if you do not feel like it
even if worship has been discouraging and dry before
looking for God to do a new and living work among you as His family.
The sacrifice of worship deepens repentance. Resentments cannot be held with the same tenacity when we enter His gracious light. As Jesus says, if we have broken fellowship with another person, we need to leave our gift at the altar and go set the matter straight. God is very explicit about this: "If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24).
The sacrifice of worship bears the fruit of obedience. Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change: Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).
How would you evaluate your worship? Are you sensing that God is preparing you to serve anywhere, anytime, anyhow, or anyway as He directs? Are you willing to submit to that will?
Worship Christ through Your Service
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. --Philippians 3:3
Even our very acts of ministry should be acts of worship that reveal His "worthship," or just how much Christ is worth to us! Only what is done out of adoration for Christ and love for others will last.
We can serve Christ in any place. John was isolated on Patmos, far from anyone but God. And yet he was serving God right where he was. Revelation 1:10a says, I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day.
We can serve Christ at any time, in any condition. John was at least eighty years old and near death. He was suffering loneliness, pain, discouragement, deprivation, and abuse. He had not seen Jesus for sixty years and was deprived of his scrolls, church, freedom, and health but he was not defeated. He was still serving Christ.
We can serve Christ in any way. We can still serve God regardless of how hard the times might be. There are no limits to what God can do through us, no matter what age we happen to be. There is no mandatory retirement from serving the Lord.
Make a choice to live in hope. You can decide today to emulate John's attitude by asking God to give you this spirit:
"It does not matter where I am: I am going to serve Christ in any place. It does not matter how old I am: I am going to serve Christ at any time of life, even at the very end. It does not matter what my circumstances are: I am going to serve Christ in any way I can, no matter what they take out of my life. It does not matter how I am, even if I am suffering: I am going to serve Christ anyhow. This is my way to worship the glorious ever-present Christ—to show Him just how much He's worth to me!"
Ask God to use you anywhere you go, any time He wants to—and He will. Like Isaiah, tell Him: "Here I am, Lord! Send me!"
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org