Forget About Singing, God Wants Us to Worship Him HIS Way – Part II

What does God consider worship and how can we offer it to Him? I think that is the best place to start a series on worship.   Earlier we talked about this in “Forget About Singing, God Wants Us to Worship Him HIS Way – Part 1”.   God is the one who is worshipped, so he gets to define how that looks. He does this for us in the Bible. A biblical definition of worship is where God tells us what worship means to Him. One of the places He does that is in Romans 12:1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” NIV

The Greek noun in this verse for worship is λατρείαν (Latreian.) It deals mostly with what we do. It relates to our actions, what one does to worship. In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), it is related to observing the ceremonial laws, offering gifts to God or to performing service for Him. In Romans 12:1, it refers to the offering of ones’ life in wholehearted devotion and dedication to the Lord, to live ones life for Him and to serve His purposes. In Israel, the whole burnt offering ascended to God and could never be reclaimed. It belonged to Him. Therefore, the kind of worship God accepts as worship, requires one to set apart their lives, to lay down their life in a once for all manner and live a life of obedience to the King.

From this verse, we can clearly see that worship is not a song we sing. It is a life we lay down. Dare I say, it is a life of obedience? (Did he just use the ‘O word?) Said another way, God says I am worshipping him when I choose to obediently follow His commands of discipleship.  Singing a song is easy! Performing a song is easier still (finding a guy who can mix the sound right, well that is nearly impossible, but I digress) Choosing to say “no” to my flesh takes effort and will. But the worship that God considers worship involves this laying down of our lives, dreams, desires, wants, hopes and plans, to serve him and his plans, wherever they lead us.  How did we get to the point where we call worship a song and sell the CD for $15?  Admittedly that is a lot easier to do, especially with a carmel-macchiato in hand.

I wish I knew how to bring balance back to the church in this matter.  Many new believers have come to interpret the call to worship as simply an invitation to sing. That is what they have seen modeled, so that’s the way it is. I am sure that our own passion for music doesn’t help matters much. It is like a fog rolling in off the coast. It clouds our judgment and makes it hard for us to see the road. We all LOVE music so it is difficult to see that our Sunday morning worship has slowly morphed into and enteraining concert that we like to call a worship service.

May the wounds of the Savior move us and our leaders more than the rhythm of any song!

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on September 13, 2011, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, Theology, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I really like your points here! I enjoy singing and I think there is a place for it for sure – but worship is more than that. “In other words, true and perfect worship consists in following in the steps of the Son of God; it consists in keeping the commandments and obeying the will of the Father to that degree that we advance from grace to grace until we are glorified in Christ as he is in his Father. It is far more than prayer and sermon and song. It is living and doing and obeying.
    Thanks for your post!

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  2. “not a song we sing… a life we lay down.” Awesome words friend. Thanks for your faithful posts. Your work is inspiring and encouraging, and never for the “itching ears.” God bless

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  3. “We had a half hour of worship and then the preacher spoke.” Have you ever heard that statement? We have a worship team (i.e. a band) and a worship leader; what exactly is the pastor for?

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  4. Hi Jim. I love this message and totally agree. I am always passionately discussing this with my wife. It is like finger nails to a chalk board when I hear someone say “let’s get our worship on” or the word “worship” is ever used as noun. It is not a noun but a verb. It is action. And exactly as you have stated, has nothing to do with a song. Satan didn’t say to Jesus sing me a song, he said bow down. Btw, I am also guitar player at my church and have felt as you have for a long while now. How do we get the church to understand how huge true worshipping is? Not diminish worshipping? Understand the importance of praise and what the difference between praise and worshipping is? Thank you for your post Jim!

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    • Hi Merwyn!

      Thanks for adding to the discussion. Getting people to even consider talking about worship is hard enough. Changing things? You have to be in a position to implement the change and have the leadership 100% on board. Even then, it is DIFFICULT! We opened Pandora’s Box, and it is hard to close it!

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