WMB 1.3 — Another bit of rewind with more developed thoughts. Remember, we are talking about the context of “corporate worship” not just the idea of worship. This is part of a series here.
MYTH: Worship is a lifestyle
The pendulum has swung where in the praise and worship movement of the 80s prophetic voices were rightly calling us to value the concept of worship outside of our liturgy. You have to live on Monday what you sing or say on Sunday. That was the original intent of this phrase and I whole heartedly agree with it. Our lives must be completely about worship. I get it and support that notion. However, today I see some in our Christian sub-culture use this phrase incorrectly. It is spun as an excuse to devalue the mystery and power in corporate worship by thinking everything else is worship, so they excuse themselves from the need to come to a church or service. We know from Hebrews that we should not forsake gathering together. (Hebrews 10:25)
Better said, “Worship is something special I do.” I cannot claim brushing my teeth for Jesus is worship. Worship must cost me something. I live as a worshipper who shows this by literal “acts” of worship that may be small or big, but are separate for this very purpose. This is why the weekly gathering is so important–a separate time for the purpose of giving to God His worth. What do you do that is separate from the mundane to express your devotion or worship to God?
Worship is not something you simply wear. Worship is more than that. It is not just all the common things we do with a good heart, it is something holy or separate. It is actually something. Disco is a lifestyle, being a follower or worshiper of Jesus demands more than that. It demands a sacrifice. A sacrifice takes intent, cost and action. It is more like getting a tattoo rather than putting on your team’s jersey. If I am a fan who tattoos, I am making a commitment and separating myself from being a fan of any other team. I can always switch a jersey.
In the same way, this phrase has been used to say that everything else besides this separate act of coming together on Sundays is worship. Really, if worship is everything then it is nothing. It has to be something. Worship cannot live as an idea or only stay in the mundane places of my life. I also need to be willing to create a space to act out and express my devotion that is separate and holy to God.
As a married man, I bring that marriage value in every decision I make. It does not mean that wearing a ring makes me married. I have to share the bed with my wife, tell her I love her and be active in seeking and building that. Corporate worship is like what we as people do to our spouses. We have some things that are sacred, separate and holy that we save and give only to our spouse. As a worshiper, I save Sunday and come with thought, intent and sacredness to an event where I can “practice” worship.
This practice of worship is about me worshiping and expressing that worship (literally means giving God worth). The sounds, smells, environment and special nature of the event really matter. Brushing my teeth is not worship. Coming to church with something to bring or sacrifice is.
Sometimes we use some of these phrases to devalue the corporate worship gathering. We think we come to hear a sermon and sing songs or feel something. Really, it is about encountering God, since He is glorified by being revealed and acknowledged for who He is and what He has done.
We let ourselves off the hook too often and come ill prepared week after week and wonder why the service does little for us–partly because we think worship is everything else that is not sacred and forget the sacred. So, make worship something you do in time and space, not just randomness. God deserves the effort and excellence of our presence at a special regular gathering that’s an act of intentional sacrifice for Him.