Worship … Always
Worship: the mere word conjures up images that we have come to associate with formal public worship. Certain songs and certain modes of religious behavior are hard to divorce from what most of us have come to call worship.
But this is not an article about worship styles or even what some have come to call worship wars. This is about something much more personal; something that impacts the direction and authenticity of our lives. And we will see how true this is as we come to realize that worship is not a weekly event but a way of life. Do not get me wrong. I am very grateful for and committed to the weekly event of corporate worship in the local church I am a part of. My soul is stirred, thrilled, and challenged by that event. But it is my desire and goal to never stop worshipping. I trust it is yours as well.
The distractions to a life of ongoing worship are myriad. Much, if not most, of what we do is not conducive to worshipping our holy God. Religion itself can be, and will be, a distraction, if it is not a Christ-centered religion of the heart. The normal responsibilities if life, that are not in themselves sinful, nevertheless easily distract us from a pursuit and habitual worship of the Lord God Almighty. Our vocations occupy us much of the day, and, if that were not enough, when we get home, there is grass to cut, the house to clean, the laundry, our children and spouse to invest in. So even normal relationships can be a distraction from a life of worship.
But most of us who know and follow Christ would agree that our God and the worship of Him are a priority, and not just on the Lord’s Day. In the words of Elijah the Prophet; “If Jehovah is God, serve Him; but if Baal, serve him.” (1 Kings 18:21) If, as Paul tells us in Romans 11:36, God is the Giver, the Guide, and the Goal of all things, then what does that say to us about the significance and priority of, not only public, corporate worship but also daily and lifelong personal and private worship. Though the distractions are a real and even necessary part of our lives, thoughts of our great God should never be far away and should be “crouching at the door” of our hearts. Nothing is more central to a Christ-centered life, and nothing is more crucial to our spiritual health and vitality. “The LORD is my light and my salvation… The LORD is the strength of my life.” (Psalm 27:1) It is “in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
So what shall we say to these things? First, there must be something of a holy obstinance in our lives with regards to worship. We must prayerfully and diligently pursue an attitude of worship in every circumstance: every event, every encounter, every exceptional situation is a call to worship. It may not be the first thing that comes to our minds, but it should not be far behind. What prevented Job from sinning in the midst of overwhelming calamity? It was at least in part his personally developed bent toward worship. (Job 1:20)
But beyond this perseverance with regards to personal worship is the need for practice. It may sound perfunctory or contrived, but the truth is that we do not develop habits without practice. Prayerfully and thoughtfully consider things that promote an attitude of worship. Write them down. Write out a plan. Then practice it until it becomes a natural part of what you do. Make occasional little changes to keep it fresh, but by all means stay at it. It may be something as simple as singing a hymn or spiritual song to the Lord as you walk from your car into work.
This is not meant to be a how to course on being spiritual but a call to worshipful living. Embrace a life of worship, and pursue it unrelentingly. May it be our heartfelt desire and our intentional goal to worship … always.