We exist for worship. We worship when we draw attention to God in our actions. Privately we worship when we draw our own attention to God; publicly we worship when we draw the attention of others to God; corporately we worship when we, as believers together, draw each other’s attention to God.
The expressions of worship, though tightly bound by what would accurately draw attention to God, are vast.
Loud, exuberant, instrumental-aided singing, drawing attention to God in an obvious way is perhaps one of the more obvious forms of worship. So is giving money, as an act of free-will, to ministries that draw people’s attention to God, be it through church, local outreach, or missions. The reading of Scripture is another obvious form of worship as we either privately, publicly, or corporately draw attention to the book about God, given us from God. We worship when we pray in our closet, in public, and with one another. We worship when we counsel one another, drawing our eyes back to God. It is worship every time we draw the attention of others to God by witnessing about His Son’s work on the cross and in our lives.
Then there are also less obvious expressions of worship. We worship God when we keep quiet for an hour to hear His Word explained to us. We worship God when we serve one another during tea break with Christ-like humility, edifying admonitions and comforting encouragement. We worship God when we respond kindly to one another as we decide who is going to make toasted sandwiches when we get home after the service. We worship God when we put other’s desires before our own in the simply luxuries of life or even the daily necessities of life – like who gets the bathroom first at home. We worship God when we read the newspaper and trust God for justice and do not place our hope on the attempts of man. We worship God when we fear the sin of worry and self-reliance more than the crime and wickedness of man. We worship God when we respond kindly to personal insult, when we cheerfully get along with everyone as far as it depends on us, when we empathise with one another, when we do what God has given us to do with excellence and humility. We worship God when we submit to the human authorities He has placed over us – everything from parents and pastors to presidents and politicians.
These expressions of worship might not always be advertised as worship, but they too draw attention to God. They demonstrate to all, even the Devil himself, how God changes people. Our daily God-changed lives are acts of worship as they draw attention to God. Is this not exactly what Jesus said?
let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
What then is worship? Worship is not measured primarily by it’s expression, but by it’s object. Worship is living an speaking in such a way as to draw attention to God and His will. We do so in our private lives, our public activities, and corporately as the Church.
In the covenant of God with Israel at Mount Sinai, physical sacrifices of the bodies of dead animals formed a rather obvious part of their expressions of drawing attention to God. The Apostle Paul appeals to that same obvious display of worship, and calls us to a similar expression of worship. Except, since we are under the New Covenant, we do not use the visual element of animal sacrifice, but use instead our own physical bodies in their living state to draw attention to what is holy and acceptable to God. Let us therefore no longer neglect worship by blending into the world’s ways, but let us worship God by drawing attention from ourselves, the world, and one another, to God’s good and acceptable, and perfect will.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, 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, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.