Worship: A Way of Life

Featuring Tom Kraeuter Posted on February 6, 2010

Definition: The essence of worship is that God is preeminent all of the time, not just on Sunday morning.

In our culture it is common for us to relegate worship to being only a Sunday-morning activity. It is the singing, prayer, reflection, Word-oriented things we do during our Sunday-morning “worship services.” Nothing more.

I find it interesting that one of the most often quoted worship passages is frequently misunderstood. John 4:23 tells us that God is seeking “worshippers.” It does not say that He is looking for “worship.” Instead of using the word which refers to the action, Jesus used the word referring to the person. A worshipper does not just offer an occasional sacrifice of praise through song. A true worshipper lives a life of worship in all that he or she says and does.

In his tape series, Worship: A Biblical View, Charles Stanley says this: “If our purpose in life is to glorify God (keep in mind that we have seven days per week and 24 hours per day or 168 hours per week) isn’t it ridiculous for us to think that God would be happy with one hour on Sunday morning? ‘All I have time for, O sovereign, righteous, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, forgiving, eternal God is one hour per week.’”

The truth is that worship, if it is indeed our main purpose in life, should permeate all that we do and say. Well-known theologian G. Campbell Morgan once said that the worship of the sanctuary is meaningless unless it is preceded by six days of worship as a way of life. If we truly understand the grace of God this statement is a bit strong. Nevertheless, it has a lot of merit. We cannot live our lives any way that we want to for six days and then come in to church on Sunday morning and expect to fully worship the Lord. It simply will not work.

In their book, Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel, Ronald Allen and Gordon Borror state it this way. “The real factor in worship is a heart desire for God; the reason it fails to occur in the pew is because it fails to occur in the daily routine of living” [Allen, Ronald B. and Borror, Gordon L., Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel (Portland, OR, Multnomah, 1982), p. 24].

Ultimately, our Sunday morning experience of worship should be the culmination of six days of worship lived in our lives.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). When we begin to understand these and other similar passages in the Bible, we realize that all that we do should be worship unto God.

“When the heart is set upon God, true worship will not depend upon outward stimulus, it will be in constant progress” [Allen, Ronald B. and Borror, Gordon L., Worship: Rediscovering theMissing Jewel (Portland, OR, Multnomah, 1982), p. 23].

Brother Lawrence, medieval monk who coined the phrase “practicing the presence of God,” alludes to the idea that when it was time for prayer at the monastery it frequently interrupted his worship of God in washing the dishes. We need that type of understanding of worship in our own lives.

Romans 12:1 says that we are to offer our bodies “as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Giving ourselves, wholly and completely unto the Lord is worship. I like to think of doing that on a daily basis. Would it make a difference in your life if you thought like that? Suppose that for the next week, each day when you get out of bed you say, “Lord, today I am Yours. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I want my life to bring praise and honor unto You. Wherever I am, whether at home, on my job, in school, in the marketplace, I dedicate all that I do to Your glory. Lord, let my life be worship unto You.” If you really did that do you suppose it would make a difference in your life?

What if everyone in your church did that? What if from Monday through Saturday each person made it a point to dedicate themselves to doing “all for the glory of God” and then all came together on Sunday morning to corporately offer up their lives of worship? Do you suppose there might be just a bit of a difference in the corporate worship experience? Of course there would. But for this to really happen we must first understand that worship is to permeate our lives.