In the last post I noted that spiritual health is something God built into us. We will be healthy unless we are injured, or fail to provide in our lives the ingredients God gave to strengthen us. The first of these is familiar, but not necessarily what we think. We usually think of “worship” as “going to church”–which is also wrong, as we’ll see in the next post. But in scripture there are actually two types of “worship”: corporate worship (what we usually think of as “going to church”) and individual worship. Of the two, individual worship is by far the most important.
In Romans 12, Paul told his readers we are to give ourselves to the Lord as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). Paul clarified what this looks like when he told the Christians in Colossae “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17) This is worship.
This type of worship isn’t just doing something–it is the intent of the heart while doing it. It requires us to do a few things that we don’t usually do:
First, it requires us to be aware of His presence with us at all times. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. We can say we believe in Jesus. We can even agree that He is with us spiritually at all times. But are we truly aware of Him ALL THE TIME?
Second, it requires a decision on our part to offer whatever we think, whatever we say and whatever we do to the Lord as an act of worship. What does this look like? I am a grandpa. I have eleven grandkids, and I love and cherish each of them. I am fortunate that all of them, most of the time, love me as well. I know this because they show me. One of the most common ways is to make me a picture of something important to them–or to me. Now, as small children, they can’t draw pictures the way adults can. Their artwork is, well childish. But it is theirs, the best they can do, and they are offering it to me as an act of love.
When we offer our actions, decisions, words or thoughts to the Lord we are the child again. Nothing we do is truly awesome in God’s eyes–He could create beings who could do anything we do much better. Why doesn’t He? Because what He wants from us is that same love our children and grandchildren give. He wants our best, and we do it out of love and devotion to Him. That is true worship.
When we go out and do what we usually do–computer programming, ditch digging, sales–whatever it is, we have a choice. We can do it because it is just what we do, or we can do it because He gave us the ability to do it, and we want to do the best we possibly can as a gift to Him. That is worship. When we use the gifts He gives us–teaching, playing music, making art, running–whatever it is, if we do it intentionally to honor the one who gave it to us, we are worshiping Him.
When we decide NOT to do something because it is NOT what He wants, we are worshiping Him.
When we decide to do something because it is what He wants, we are worshiping Him.
This individual worship is what actually prepares us for corporate worship. It is a reflection of who we really are and what is most important to us–and to the Lord. It is what leads us to practice love, respect, service to others–all the things Jesus wants us to do. It is what causes us to grow and change and be who we want to be–and more importantly, who He wants us to be.
So, if we want to be healthy, we start with individual worship. What thoughts do you need to give the Lord? What words do you choose to say–or withhold–in order to please Him? What actions do you take, wrapping them in your love of the Lord, presenting them to Him and saying, “Here Lord, I did this for you.?” These are true worship.
In my next post we will explore corporate worship and spiritual health.