What does praise and worship look like, feel like, and smell like?
How should we praise and worship?
I don’t think these are really new questions. Every culture and religion has tried to figure out how to worship. Some believe with all their hearts that their debauchery and/or violence is the proper way to worship “God”, while others believe that their “anything goes” attitude is the correct way to worship. Everything in between has wound up creating new religions, splitting denominations, and destroying churches. The upcoming articles are my exploration of biblical and extra-biblical information concerning the history of worship, leading into an exploration of what Yeshua meant by “worship[ing] in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
Since I don’t want to be overwhelming, I’m going to break this series into many small pieces, each focusing on one particular aspect of praise and worship. At first the articles will focus on the history of worship in the Hebrew Scriptures, then the history of worship in the Christian church, and finally I’ll bring it all together and discuss what our Father might want our praise and worship to look like today in the 21st century.
The subject of worship is important because worship is a significant way that we act in love toward our Father. Love is not something that’s selfish, so if we want to show Him our love we’ll do it in a way that He will truly receive it. Love is also something we grow in. When my children were very young they gave me toys that they would also enjoy, like cars and stuffed animals. I received them with joy because my children were young and didn’t know how to find out what I really liked and shop accordingly. If they liked it they thought I would, too. After all, I played with them, didn’t I? But they are much older now and yes, I would be disappointed if I were still getting gifts that appealed to them without thought as to what I really like. It would indicate that they were still “loving” me in a selfish way.
For years I’ve watched and participated in a number of forms of worship; no musical instruments to rock-and-roll style jammin’, simple hand raising to leaping and dancing before the LORD, a loose order to a highly liturgical one. Yes, I’ve experienced and participated in most types of worship and I’ve realized that there’s always something missing, like we’re still giving our Father the stuff that we like to play with as our gift to Him. Paul told us that we are to reach the fullest measure of maturity like Jesus did (Eph 4:13), and I believe that worshipping the way our Father wants us to is a key step to having that kind of maturity, a maturity that will allow our worship and praise to be a lifestyle, not simply an event.
My next article will begin our journey in the book of Genesis discussing sacrifice as a form of worship. I’m looking forward to this journey and pray that it leads us all to a greater maturity, and a deeper relationship with our Father in Heaven.