Christian Worship: A Spiritual Gem
It was a cold day. High in the Andes mountains a young man trudged down a gravel road. Suddenly he saw an interesting-looking rock, picked it up, and put it in his pocket. Little did he know what he had found. That rock, one of the largest emeralds ever found in Colombia, was sold for several million pesos, and the man became wealthy.
Wouldn’t you like to have found that stone? We would all love to own a precious emerald, diamond, or ruby. But, even though we may not be able to own these, there is one gem we can all have, the gem of worship.
Worshiping God is like a precious stone because it makes us spiritually rich. Like a beautiful gem, there are different facets to worship. We will study several of the most important ones. As you learn to put these truths into action, you will be polishing your “gem” of worship. The Holy Spirit will help you so that every facet radiates the beauty and glory of God.
Love in Worship
Our love for God needs to be expressed. He has already expressed His love for us by sending His Son to die in our place. He shows goodness and mercy even to those who have not cared about Him. Matthew 5:45 says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Expressing love is a two-way street. Is there any reason for us to hide our feelings from Him? Though He reads our hearts and sees the love there, He longs for us to speak our love and demonstrate it. In so doing we open the door for Him to speak His love back to us. Then we begin to understand what fellowship and communion with the Lord is about. Nothing else in all the world can take its place.
There is a spiritual need that can be filled only through worship. We need to speak our love to God and demonstrate that love by our actions. How can that be done? A deed of kindness done in the name of Jesus becomes an act of worship because it pleases the Lord. (Read Matthew 25:31–40.)
As a Christian you have already learned that pleasing the Lord brings you satisfaction and contentment. The worshipful person is also a cheerful person, that in itself is a reward. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Psalm 128:1 affirms, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.”
John writes, “The time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God’s Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship he wants” (John 4:23). This verse gives what is expected of us as worshipers: to worship the Father in spirit and truth, for God seeks such worshipers.
The words “by the power” suggest that we need power or strength to worship, but the power must be greater than our own. When we admit our lack, we take the first step toward real worship, the step of humility.
In true worship we also see ourselves as children in need of love and guidance. Does this sound like a step downward? In a way it is. But humility does not mean giving up everything we own. It means allowing the Lord first place in every area of our lives. When we begin to see His greatness, we are more ready to offer the true worship that He wants.
Other essential qualities in worship include love and obedience. In family relationships it is impossible to separate these two qualities. One calls for, or complements, the other. If a child loves his or her parents, obeying them is usually not difficult. Rather, it becomes a pleasure. Love prompts the desire to please.
If we find ourselves wanting to go against God’s commands, we should view our attitude as a warning that our love is wearing thin. We must humbly ask the Lord to forgive our self-centeredness. He will again pour in His love, love that we can pour out in joyful obedience to His will.
Just as the gem has many facets, worship also has facets. We have studied qualities that are among the most important. But as you seek God’s Word, His Spirit will show you many more. Every new inner quality that you add and polish will make your time of worship more valuable.
The facets of our worship gem are innumerable. In every new circumstance we find creative ways and opportunities to worship and glorify God. Our Bibles show how people of long ago expressed their love, and we can learn from their experiences. As we express our love, it, too, will grow.
David, the shepherd who became king of Israel, worshiped the Lord with musical instruments and with song. Moses’ sister Miriam worshiped with a holy dance. The great woman of Shunem simply bowed in silence, too awed for the moment to utter a word. Dorcas was a godly woman who gave God glory and honor by her consistent Christian life and her quick fingers to sew and make clothing for the poor.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, praised and exalted God. Her words were not her own. As she opened her heart and mouth to praise, she spoke beautiful words of prophecy. Read this prayer called the Magnificat, or Mary’s song, in Luke 1:46–55.
These examples show only a few of the ways we can worship the Lord. With our voices we can praise Him in song. With our bodies we can worship by playing musical instruments, clapping our hands, or raising our arms. Some of the most precious moments of worship are found in complete silence, meditating on the goodness of God. And, as we know, actions speak as loudly as words. We praise when we obey, when we look about us and see needs that we can fill, and then do what we can to fill those needs.
Sincere worship is a precious stone found in the ordinary soil of earth, yet it can reflect the light, the beauty, and the glory of God.