Those who know me already know what my answer to the above question is. In order for it to be meaningful, worship must become a lifestyle. Unfortunately it is far too often treated like an event we go to. Think about it. Our church lingo has actually probably encouraged this thought of worship as an event. We have WORSHIP services, nights of WORSHIP, WORSHIP rehearsal, orders of WORSHIP, and the list could go on. At most, it would appear to the outsider that worship is limited to what we do when we come into the church building itself. At the least, worship is reduced to our weekly song set lists. If worship is to be a life-changing part of our lives, this has to change.
I think one of the reasons that I am fascinated with worship in the Old Testament is that it is very obviously something that permeated every part of the Hebrew culture. Sacrifices didn’t just happen one day a week. They were a part of every day life. It was as if God established their worship laws to remind them that He was to be the center of every part of their lives. While I know that we are not living under Jewish law, I think there are lessons that we can certainly take from the law that God put into place for them.
Tabernacle and ultimately temple worship served as a daily reminder of the need for a Savior. Every time that they would take a sacrifice from their flock to the tabernacle to offer it, they were reminded that their own righteousness was not nearly enough to satisfy the justice demanded by Jehovah. I can only imagine that being faced with that reality every day had to stir emotions of sincere thankfulness and gratitude within the nation of Israel.
Fast forward a few thousand years and we find ourselves living in a hyper-grace society. Grace is taught so often that I wonder if many church goers know what the word repentance means. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a thankful recipient of God’s grace, but I also don’t view that grace through a lens that would allow me to do things my way and rely on that grace to make it all ok. When I mess up, there has to be a time of confession (admitting the wrong) and repentance (turning away from the sinful behavior) that must take place. Remember 1 John 1:9 says that ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ God’s grace is available, but confession and repentance are part of the deal.
To many it may seem like I’ve gotten off of the original question posed in the title of this blog entry, so let me attempt to bring this back around. What in the world does this have to do with worship as a lifestyle?
Every worship team that I’ve had the privilege to lead has heard me say that worship has to be something we live and not something that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us that whatever we do, we are to do it all to the glory of God. If I’m paraphrasing, it tells me that everything is to be done as an act of worship. Everything? Yes. I would often tell my teams to think of the most mundane, menial task that they have to do around the house and then commit to making that task an act of worship. How do I do that? For starters, I do it with a good attitude.
Stick with me for just a minute on that one. How do I take out the garbage or wash the dishes with a good attitude? I hate doing those things. I begin by becoming grateful that I have a way to dispose of garbage. I’m thankful that I have a faucet that dispenses water to make it possible to wash the dishes. You see, many people in this world live in garbage dumps. How can I complain about taking trash out of my house? It seems silly now doesn’t it?
When I make myself look through the lens of thankfulness, I then have to focus that gratitude towards someone. That someone for a Christian is Jesus Christ. When I become thankful for the blessings that He has so graciously lavished on someone like me, worship begins to flow out of my heart even as I’m taking the trash out. That worship should flow out of my being constantly.
Finally, can you imagine what our corporate gatherings on Sunday morning would be like if those in attendance had lived that worship lifestyle all week long rather than trudging through the week and coming in for their weekly God refill? I dare say the whole dynamic of what we do on Sunday morning would change drastically. Pastors wouldn’t have to beg people to give (I went there didn’t I?). Worship leaders wouldn’t have to plead with the congregation to sing along. The clock on the wall wouldn’t matter.
Here’s the challenge. Commit yourself to changing your approach to the Monday-Saturday way of life. Focus on Him even as you do the mundane. Let worship begin to flow out of your spirit during the week, and then see what happens when you enter into corporate worship on Sunday. I bet you’ll notice a different in your attitude in church.
Worship is a lifestyle. Live it!