Worship is basically an act of giving honor and glory to God for who He is or what He has done, for all of His and Its worth. However, not all acts of worship is really worship. I myself have been guilty of false worship at times.
One, my guilt of being a hypocrite worshipper. It is the greatest punishment of all that I have experienced. Whenever I know that deep inside me I am rebellious against God or that I willingly sin, then my conscience will really go hard against me. Worse is the pain that the Holy Spirit gives me as He is grieved. But those pains, especially the one coming from the Holy Spirit is for my good working towards my repentance.
Matthew 15:8 (KJV) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Second, coming to worship knowing that someone has something against me. With my relationship with others destroyed, I really find it hard to worship God. In fact, it is impossible.
Matthew 5:23-24 (KJV) Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
God demands holiness in His children, especially during times of sacred worship, individually or as a Church.Worship is a blessed act of reverent adoration to the God whose Holiness is in a class of its own. Therefore, worshipping Him with unclean hearts and hands is not acceptable.
It was the year 2004, I was sitting and occasionally facedown on my bed, asking God in prayer, “Lord, what is the heart of worship?” After some minutes of fervent asking, He replied and whispered strongly to my spirit, “It is knowing the greatness of God and your nothingness.” I was awed and literally speechless for around five minutes. The greatness of God and my nothingness; that God is everything and I am nothing.
It is really true that if you seek God with all your heart, you will find Him (Deu. 4:29), and that if you call upon Him He will reveal wonderful things beyond your thinking (Jer. 33:3). The best advice that I could give you is, Seek God’s face (Psa. 27:8). Pursue His Glory. Always pray with the heart of Moses, “Lord I beseech Thee, show me Thy Glory.” (Exo. 33:18)
Always pray that God will show Himself more. Never be contented with what you have now of God. Always desire for the more of His. I mean not His gifts, but God Himself, for God Himself is the greatest treasure, God Himself is our first inheritance. That’s why the Levites and the priests in Moses’s days didn’t have a portion of the land, for the Lord Himself is their inheritance – for God desires that they might be satisfied only in God, not in any other things (Num. 18:20; Eze. 44:28). That is very important, for the Levites and the priests were the first among His many servants – if you want to be a minister to God and to His people, you should have God at the center of your heart – God should be your first and only portion and inheritance. That is different from having many portions and having God at the first; no, you should have only God. It does not mean that you love not other blessings like the family or ministry, but, it means that when your heart seeks and treasures God, you treasure Him only. That is what it means to seek God with an undivided heart. Loving God that way will also transform your love for others in a more Biblical and God-centered way, increasing your love for others. That is why the first commandment is loving God fully, and the second one, loving others founded on that love of God. (Matt. 22:37-39) In short, God becomes the center of your love for your family, God becomes the center of your love for the ministry, etc. Your life and love become God-centric.
From my observations and understanding of the Bible, I could say that much of the Church is not living up to the standards of God. Why? For two things. First, they are not experiencing God enough. Secondly, arising from the first one, is that they have substituted God’s ways with the ways of man and have become contented with that sorrowful condition. If they experienced God enough in their hearts, they would have forsaken the ways of the world and have not incorporated them in the activities, plans, and systems of the Church.
And why is it that most of the God’s people are not experiencing God enough? We don’t have that full-hearted love for God. We do not love God fully. We do not seek Him with an undivided heart. Again my advice, and the commandment from the mouth of God, “Seek Me with all your heart.” (Psa. 27:8)
If you seek God with all your heart, He will reveal wonderful things to you. He will begin to open up His heart to you in a much more personal level, in a much deeper way, and you will experience what He promised as a friendship-relationship with the Master. (John 15:15) Not all Christians have this kind of relationship with Jesus.
As He reveals wonderful things to you, you will get to know more of His heart, more of His standards, His likes and dislikes, and you will begin to receive directions from Him. Here comes the call to obedience – take the risk and obey, though many may not understand you, and most will not at first.
But you should obey. Obedience to God is like using a flashlight on a very dark night. The light is not used on long distances, rather, on just a few steps ahead of you. The light is His Word and His direction. The more you obey and walk, the further and longer the light will keep on guiding you. If you stop in walking and obeying, then the light will stop on going further. Remember what you did last Sunday in worship? It must not stop there. Surely God has revealed other things to do. Just keep on obeying. Do not stop. Take the risk for God!
Remember, God is also speaking the same things on some people around you. You are not alone, as it often seemed to be. God has reserved some. You must take courage, the more you obey, the more they will take courage too and the more they will also try to obey.
God is looking for His children who will be bold to take His things seriously. God is looking for the few whom He could use to restore true worship and service in the Church. He could use even the weakest in the Church – if only even the weakest is willing to obey at all costs, at all risks. Again, when you do His ministry, do not be persuaded by the rules and systems of the Church, but only by His Holiness, Love, and Majesty. The rules and systems themselves are not holy, only God is holy. If you seek and respond rightly to the holiness of God, then your actions in the ministry and in everyday life will far surpass the systems and standards of the Church.
Most of the systems and rules of the Church have adopted the ways of the world. Our services, worship, preaching, and other ministries are very much acting like marketing corporations. We target the ears, the psychological mind, and the manly-pleasures of the people. We do not really aim for the salvation of the lost and the strengthening of the Church. Our actions of glorifying God fall short of His standards. We must break free from this. We serve the Holy God, and not anything or anyone else.
God desires to restore true worship and service. Let us all heed God’s call.
If we desire to give God the Glory and worship that He rightfully deserves, we should seek to see his greatness and be proactive in making more (and more) rooms for Him in our life. If we desire to have more of our flesh crucified, the best way is to let God take full control of our lives, and surrendering ourselves (and self-righteousness) to His will in sweet resignation – the very essence of making more room for God and less for ourselves.
But before we can truly have the desire to surrender ourselves (and our will) to
Him, we need first to see His Greatness. The more we realize the greatness of God, the more we are humbled to the ground in reverent submission (Lev.9:24; Dan. 10:8,9; Isa. 6:1-5), making us to realize our littleness or nothingness. To contemplate on the Greatness and Sovereignty of God is the best antidote for human pride. The worship of God should be worshiping God is simply the attitude-and-act of glorifying God by the offering of the self as an acceptable sacrifice (Rom. 12) – for the chief end of man is to glorify God (knowing, loving, and honoring Him) :
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power:
for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are
and were created. (Rev. 4:11)
The LORD hath made all things for himself (Prov. 16:4a)
For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.(Rom. 11:36)
And, worshiping the Glorious God provides the happiest moments of life here on earth. In Him I find real satisfaction for my dry and hungry soul – ever thirsting for something or someone who is ever to satisfy the thirst. In worshiping God, I have my most substantial joy. In living the life of reverent submission, there comes an abundance of strength, power, and fulfillment.
And this is Christian Hedonism (however trivial the term may sound!)- finding your JOY IN GOD – the only unceasing fountain of everlasting joy:
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants
for Thee, O God, for the living God (Psa. 42:1-2)
My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a
dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psa. 63:1)
O taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psa. 34:8)
My chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever, where He is most exalted, and I am most humbled down and satisfied.
The otherness of God tells us of His beauty. His otherness is the fact
that He ALONE is self-SUFFICIENT, self-RELIANT, self-JOYOUS, self-WORTHY, and self-GLORIOUS. These irrefutable characteristics of God make Him absolutely different from us.
Worship leader Matt Redman summarizes facedown worship as:
“When we face up to the Glory of God, we find ourselves facedown in worship.” – Matt Redman.
And here is what I have personally learned from my journey of digging in to what worship is really all about. Studying the contexts of facedown worship instances in the Bible (Gen. 17; Exo. 33 & 34; Lev. 9; Dan. 10; Mat 17; Acts 9; Rev. 5) reveal several truths: First, worship is primarily not just giving worth to God, but a ‘response’ to His greatness. And before we can truly worship, we must first ‘see’ God – or simply receive a revelation about Him, or His greatness. His glory is something which cannot be overlooked. His glory is something that is so powerful that once we encounter it, we simply cannot help but to have the awe, astonishment, and wonder at His greatness – the very simplicity of worshipping God in spirit and truth. Secondly, that God wants to be worshipped based on who He really is – the way He made His Written Word tell His Nature, Character, and Majesty. He wants to vindicate Himself.
What I am trying to say here is that if we truly face up to the Glory of God, then falling facedown in worship is not hypocrisy, nor superficial but a real genuine reflection of an overwhelmed heart.Throughout the Scriptures, the Glory of God plays an important role upon making ordinary man be broken in spirit, be totally ‘undone’ in his self (Isa. 6), fearful (Mat. 17; Rev. 1) and astonished in awe and joy (Lev. 9:24). If we truly realize and understand the beautiful ‘otherness’ of God, or His Glory, then falling facedown becomes understandable too. The ‘bigness’ of the measure of God’s Glory is the very factor that eats up the heart of the worshipper. The very measure of God’s Glory is the same measure of how powerful it can eat up a worshipper’s heart. If we only know how great and majestic and honorable and glorious our Living God is, then it’s not hard to understand why we fall facedown in worship – because our facedown posture reflects a heart that has been totally consumed. And an eaten-up heart is the heart that has been humbled down and instinctively taught to revere the Glorious God.
I am not saying here that worshipping God rightly should always involve being facedown in posture. There are also other postures in worship mentioned in the Bible like standing, dancing, and clapping of hands. What I am pinpointing is that in the Scriptures, the best noticeable kind of worship that reflects awe, humility, and submission to God and His Glory is facedown worship. And an important word to add – in this life, true worship is always seen in a holy life (Romans 12).