Three Aspects of Authentic Worship
During the month of May, we are emphasizing connecting through worship. Believers in Jesus Christ have the privilege of worshipping the God of the universe both individually and corporately. Because our hearts are prone to worshipping other gods, we are to make worship a priority in our lives. Psalm 29:2 says, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.” The Bible has a plethora of verses addressing the issue of worship. While Psalm 29:2 is just one example of a worship-themed verse, I find this short text quite instructive.
As we consider this brief verse of Scripture I want to highlight three aspects of authentic worship.
Note first of all, authentic worship is directed toward the proper object. The Lord, Jehovah, is the only true object of worship. Because we are vulnerable to idolatry and self-glory, our rebellious hearts have to consistently be directed back to the Lord through private and corporate worship. Consider your heart for a moment, and try to identify the actual object of your worship. Has something or someone other than God been allowed to sit on the throne of your heart? Since we become like we worship, take a careful assessment of the fruit your life is bearing. Are you becoming more like Jesus? Or have you begun to bear the fruit of idolatrous worship? Spurgeon writes, “ We pity the poor heathen who adore a god of stone, and yet worship a god of gold” (May 4, Morning and Evening). Make sure that you haven’t fallen into the trap of worshipping money, possessions, popularity, comfort, pleasure, sex, or any of the other innumerable false gods that our culture bows before. Assess your heart to make certain that God truly is the one and only object of your worship.
Secondly, notice that those who authentically worship “ascribe glory due God’s name.” Glory means to “honor.” When you reflect on your life, do you properly honor the name of God? Do the choices you make in your daily life give indication to others that you honor the name of God? Growing up, I loved baseball. I still remember getting my first baseball jersey when I was nine-years-old. During my first two years of Little League, I played for the Pirates. The shirt we wore was bright yellow and the lettering was in black, matching Pittsburgh’s Major League Baseball team. Those of you who remember the 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates probably remember their wild colorful uniforms. Our little league jerseys resembled those uniforms. On the back of my shirt was the number 18, and above the number was my name, “Jay C.” I was honored to wear that shirt with my name proudly displayed on the back. But as believers we have the greater honor of bearing the name of Jesus Christ. Our lives are a worship song, and our lives are to bring glory to the name of our Savior. If our name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, we must bring honor to God’s name by properly worshipping Him.
The third aspect of authentic worship I see in Psalm 29:2 is that God’s people are to “worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.” Revelation 4:8 gives a glimpse of heavenly worship. The verse proclaims, “Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’” Holy, holy, holy highlights God’s perfect holiness. God is absolutely without sin, and his holiness is the reason He holds us accountable for our iniquities. God’s holiness is also the reason we worship Him. Because God is perfectly holy, He is the only one worthy of our worship.
Psalm 29:2 reminds us that our worship is to center on God, and not on our perceived needs. Rather than creating a worship environment that centers on man, we must build a worship culture that centers on Christ. As a church, we will seek to avoid the ditch of empty ritual-driven worship, while also steering clear of the ditch of empty entertainment-driven worship. I want our public worship to be a time of praise and celebration as we lift up the name of Christ and bring honor to the name of our God.
When we consider the power, splendor, and holiness of Christ, we must stay on our knees before Him and center our lives on our Savior. Growing in our adoration for God begins when we recognize that God is the only true object worthy of our worship, when we ascribe worthiness to His name, and remember God’s perfect holiness.
Worship is about God and who He is. Worship is about expressing our love and adoration for God both privately and corporately. If private worship is lacking in your life, you cannot worship corporately. If your soul is like a dry desert in the heat of summer because you haven’t been properly caring for it then it’s time for you to reconnect with your Savior, and invest the time it takes to know Him more intimately. What actions do you take during the course of a week to draw your heart to God? Are you consistently engaged in personal worship? Do you worship God through personal Bible study and prayer? Do you allow Christ-centered music to bathe your soul in the wonders of God’s majesty?
Brethren, let us authentically worship our God this month. Let’s lift up the name that is above every name, and sing praises to our God as we worship Him.