What does it mean for Worship?
When was the last time you worshipped God? It might have been when you last joined in a church meeting. Or perhaps not. Mere attendance at a church service does not constitute worship. Much of our church services are given to education, with the ‘worship’ left to the attendee’s own personal thought-world.
Some ‘acts of service’ are constructed as worship. Cleaning up after others. Looking after the kids. Looking after someone else’s kids. But was it actually worship, or merely duty?
So, when was the last time you worshipped God? What form did your worship take? How did you feel as you worshipped God?
In Chapter 6 of The Dangerous Duty of Delight John Piper argues that:
“Worship is the highest moral act a human can perform; so the only basis and motivation for it that many people can conceive is the moral notion of disinterested performance of duty. But when worship is reduced to disinterested duty, it ceases to be worship. For worship is a feast of the glorious perfections of God in Christ.”
But in Piper’s thinking, what actually is worship? He provides a definition of sorts in the following paragraph:
“… Hebrews 11:6 enters combat with popular conceptions of selfless virtue. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” You cannot please God if you do not come to Him for reward! Therefore, worship that pleases God is the hedonistic pursuit of God. He is our exceedingly great reward! In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. Being satisfied with all God is for us in Jesus is the essence of the authentic experience of worship. Worship is the feast of Christian Hedonism.”
So Piper frames worship as a ‘pursuit’ of God. It is finding a satisfaction in God. It is a desire to ‘have’ God. It is not what we bring to God– our singing, our giving or our quality of preaching. Instead it is our contented pleasure in God. Ultimately, Piper argues that worship is not a means to any other end than satisfaction in God. “Genuine affections for God are an end in themselves.”
As you reflect on these comments, what further questions do you have? Is Piper’s definition of worship sufficient? Is it too narrow? How might you define worship?
Here are some further passages from the bible that might assist you in your exploration of worship.
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”John 4:23-34
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:1-2
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