The meaning of the New Testament Greek word most often translated “worship”  (proskuneo) is “to fall down before” or “bow down before.” Worship is a state  (an attitude) of spirit. Since it’s an internal, individual action, it  could/should be done most of the time (or all the time) in our lives, regardless  of place or situation (John 4:21).  Therefore, Christians worship all the time, seven days a week. When Christians  formally gather together in worship, still the emphasis should be on  individually worshiping the Lord. Even in a congregation, participants need to  be aware that they are worshiping God fully on an individual basis.

The  nature of Christian worship is from the inside out and has two equally important  parts. We must worship “in spirit and in truth” (John  4:23-24). Worshiping in the spirit has nothing to do with our physical  posture. It has to do with our innermost being and requires several things.  First, we must be born again. Without the Holy Spirit residing within us, we  cannot respond to God in worship because we do not know Him. “No one knows the  things of God except the Spirit of God” (1  Corinthians 2:11b). The Holy Spirit within us is the one who energizes  worship because He is in essence glorifying Himself, and all true worship  glorifies God.

Second, worshiping in spirit requires a mind centered on  God and renewed by Truth. Paul exhorts us to “present your bodies as a living  sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not  be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:1b, 2b). Only when our minds  are changed from being centered on worldly things to being centered on God can  we worship in spirit. Distractions of many kinds can flood our minds as we try  to praise and glorify God, hindering our true worship.

Third, we can  only worship in spirit by having a pure heart, open and repentant. When King  David’s heart was filled with guilt over his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11),  he found it impossible to worship. He felt that God was far from him, and he  “groaned all day long” feeling God’s hand heavy upon him (Psalm 32:3,4). But when  he confessed, fellowship with God was restored and worship and praise poured  forth from him. He understood that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a  broken and contrite heart” (Psalm  51:17). Praise and worship toward God cannot come from hearts filled with  unconfessed sin.

The second part of true worship is worship “in truth.”  All worship is a response to truth, and that which is truth is contained in the  Word of God. Jesus said to His Father, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17b). Psalm 119 says, “Thy law is truth” (v.  142b) and “Thy word is true” (v. 160a). To truly worship God, we must understand  who He is and what He has done, and the only place He has fully revealed Himself  is in the Bible. Worship is an expression of praise from the depths of our  hearts toward a God who is understood through His Word. If we do not have the  truth of the Bible, we do not know God and we cannot be truly  worshiping.

Since external actions are unimportant in Christian worship,  there is no rule regarding whether we should sit, stand, fall down, be quiet, or  sing praises loudly while in corporate worship. These things should be decided  based on the nature of the congregation. The most important thing is that we  worship God in spirit (in our hearts) and in truth (in our minds.)

Advertisements