A Worshipper; A Bondservant

Featuring Zach Neese Posted on December 28, 2010

I got saved when I was 23 years old, lying on my back in the grass at an art museum in Austin. Just a few months before I had destroyed the heart of the woman I “loved” by pressuring her to get an abortion. As she lay on the clinic table in silent tears, I realized that the life of the only innocent person in this situation was being extinguished because of my selfishness. That’s when I saw just how small, vile and unlovable I was. Somewhere deep inside I knew that there really was a God. He was holy, perfect and just. And I had just made an enemy of Him. I had sinned. I deserved hell and it deserved me.

That day God did something miraculous. He visited the art museum. God came to me where I was, in the grass, and spoke to me in a voice that could be felt as much as heard. As I shielded my eyes from His brilliance, God explained His love for me. As He spoke, the gospel was instantly downloaded into my heart. I understood the cross for the first time. I understood real love for the first time. And it was astounding. I told Him that I couldn’t spit in the face of that kind of love. I would do anything He asked of me for the rest of my life.

One of the words in Hebrew most often translated as worshipper is abad. It means a bondservant. Deuteronomy 15:12–18 (also see Galatians 1:10) explains that when a slave was released from his time of servitude, if he loved his master, he could choose to remain with his master and serve him as a bondservant. That day in Austin, I became an abad worshipper—a bondservant. Today, I do not serve God because of some religious requirement. I don’t serve Him because of the threat of hell. I choose to serve Him because He loves me. And I love Him so much that there is nothing I’d rather do for the rest of my life, with every faculty of my being, than serve Him. That is worship.

I attended my first church service about four months later and saw more ways that I could love God. About half of the congregation had their arms raised in the air. And I thought, “This must be the physical expression of the posture of their hearts towards God—Surrender.” Many were clapping. It occurred to me, “Their applause is a physical expression of the posture of their hearts towards God—Praise.” Here and there, a few were on their knees, bowing low upon the ground. And I realized, “This is also the physical expression of the posture of their hearts towards God—Honor.”

Then I looked up at the platform. There, against the back wall of the church, stood a cross where Jesus served His Father by pouring his life out for an unlovable world. The cross is the physical expression of the posture of God’s heart towards me. He loved me … to death.

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual (or acceptable) act of worship.” At the cross, I view the mercy of God—love without equal. Worship is what happens when I decide to love Him back. I offer my body, every part of it, as a living sacrifice, to express the posture of my heart towards my Lord. Worshippers will love God with their songs, but more importantly they will love Him with their lives. Every use of their hands, every path their feet fall upon, every thought, every affection, every glance of the eye, every ounce of their strength expresses love louder than words. Worship is not a grudging service, but the grateful response of a heart that has been wooed by the cross.

Today, let your praises be heard, but let them be seen as well. Our voices are only one of the instruments the Lord has given us to use for His glory. Let your life be an expression of the posture of your heart towards God, and may people love Jesus more because they have been around you.

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