How is Your Worship?
Everybody worships. Even atheists worship. They might not worship the God that created the universe and came down from heaven to bring us redemption in the person of Jesus Christ. But they do worship. They worship money, fame, their jobs, sports idols. We all worship something or someone. The point is, are we worshiping like atheists or are we worshiping like the Bible instructs us? When you answer this question, be honest. God already knows. How is your worship?
We often wish we could worship better. Or worship more. But sometimes we just don’t feel like worshiping. Or we don’t feel like doing it right now.
How is Paul and Silas’ worship?
The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them… – Acts 16:22-25
In Acts 16:22-25, Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown into prison. If you want to be in a position where you don’t feel like worshiping, try that. I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where we just don’t feel like worshiping. In Paul and Silas’s case, the magistrates ordered them to be flogged. After being flogged, they were put in jail.
But not just any cell; the inner cell to ensure they don’t have any sunlight or view to the outside. Not many of us would feel like worshiping at this point. But that is exactly what Paul and Silas do. They sing hymns and pray!
How hard is it to worship God when you are going through serious trials? The answer depends upon where you are in your spiritual walk. You will find it hard to worship in these times if you have not given up your future, your situations or your decisions to God. You will end up trying to take care of it on your own. God has no place in this.
However, if you have given these up to Him, it will not matter whether you are going through physical difficulties or whether you are swimming in the lap of luxury. Your heart continues to trust in Him. You recognize who is in control. You find you are more than able to worship. So, how is your worship?
How is Habakkuk’s worship?
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. – Habakkuk 3:17-18
Habakkuk the prophet is going through a difficult time. But I love his response to his situation. Even though he is going through these trials, he will rejoice in the Lord. He will be joyful in God his savior. He doesn’t ask for his situation to change. He doesn’t ask for better crops or more cattle. He simply recognizes God for who He is: his Savior. And he rejoices! That is a heart of worship! So, how is your worship?
How is Your Worship?
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! – Philippians 4:4
Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord always! Is that something you can do? Can you worship Him every day? Can you find a reason every day to praise Him? The answer needs to be “Yes!” Every day, we have to choose: praise Him or be bitter. Every day, situations occur either directly to us or around us and we have the choice to be like Paul and Silas and Habakkuk or we can be like the world, who despises God. There really isn’t an in-between.
Sometimes life gives us a series of choices and we can choose something in-between. For example, you might watch a movie. Usually, it’s not either the best ever or the worst ever. We might rate it on some scale and it falls somewhere in between. Three out of five stars, maybe four stars. Same with the food we eat, the music we hear or the work we do.
Then there are other times where “yes” or “no” are the only choices. You are either pregnant or you’re not. You are either jumping off the cliff or you’re not. You are either getting on the plane or you’re not. There are no scales of how pregnant you are or how far off the cliff you can jump. You can’t choose to be partially on the plane and partially on the ground. Believing in God and the Bible are not like watching movies. They are like cliff jumping.
Either you believe that God is who He says He is through the Bible or you don’t. If you do, then you believe that God is in charge of everything that happens, that He is in control, that He has His own timing and that all things will work to the good for those who are in Christ Jesus. You believe this totally or not at all. Do you believe God is in control of your situation right now? If you believe it, then worshiping in difficult times becomes easy. So how is your worship?
Why don’t we worship like we want?
The issue is that we get down about our situation. Losing track of the big picture is easy. We are so wrapped up in our day-to-day problems. We need to see everything that is going on around us, not just troubles that are the most pressing or most important or the biggest impact. We need to see the big picture, not just the emergencies. Do not set your eyes on your current circumstances. Set your mind on things above, on God. When you do this, it allows you to bring your heart to that place of worship, the place we want to be but haven’t been able to find.
How do we do this? There are several ways.
First, be immersed in His Word.
Reading the Bible daily allows us to reset our sights, to get back the enthusiasm, to see what others have done in similar situations. When we see God taking care of Daniel in the lion’s den or Joseph in Egypt, we learn He can take care of us as well. When we see what God can do for Paul and Silas in prison, we recognize what He can do for us in our trial. We must use these role models to help us in our situation: we pray, we sing, we allow God to be in control. When we worship God in these circumstances, He pays special attention to us. He loves our worship! How much more does He love it when we are doing it in these impossible situations?
Second, change your surroundings.
Place yourself in a positive, favorable environment. Hang out with different people. Go to friends and families. This is good. It is familiar; it is comfortable. It will help ease your mind. The only caution I would give about this is that if your friends and family aren’t believers, you might find yourself worshiping your environment and not God. You might give credit for your better frame of mind to people. After doing this several times, you will find yourself worshiping people rather than God.
In addition to changing the people you are with, change the places where you go. Try a place where you can soak in God’s work in nature. Go to a park, a beach, a mountain, a forest, a lake. Find some place where you experience the wonders of His hands. Amaze yourself in how complicated things are, especially things you take for granted. Examine a leaf and see the intricacies and how it works, recognizing that there is no way something like this could have appeared by chance. Look down, at the ground, at the living things: the insects, animals, plants. Look up, at the sky: the clouds, the sun, moon and stars. Ponder these things; don’t just look at them and treat them as everyday things. Recognize in them the power of God. This change of mind to see the extraordinary in the ordinary will give you the change in perspective that will bring you to worship.
Third, get together with your church family.
Being in the midst of other Christians will put God into the center of all you are doing. God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He has given His church as a temple for the Holy Spirit. We have no choice but to worship when God is in our midst. That’s why worship is so easy in church: because God is among us in a strong sense.
But He is with us even in the everyday; we simply need to allow Him to be here instead of allowing our everyday life to interfere with our relationship with Him. By bringing the church in to our everyday life, we make that happen. By getting together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we bring God into our presence. This allows us to worship Him regardless of what is happening in our lives.
Now apply this.
Worship Him this week. Read the Bible daily and find something about which to worship God. Take some time during the week to find a place you can go to experience the glory of God here on earth. Then take time to worship Him for who He is and what He has done. Finally, make it a point to make contact with some of your brothers and sisters in Christ this week. Go to the bible study or the prayer meeting. Or find some other excuse to get together. (Hint: Christians really like food…)
Remember, in all we do, give God the worship. By doing this, we allow God to do great things in our lives, in our situations, and through us for others and for His kingdom.