What Exactly is Worship?
by Molly Shorter
What exactly is worship? If you had to write out a definition, what would you say?
Some would answer that worship is what we do on Sundays when we sing together in church - during the "worship service." Yes, part of our worship to the Lord is gathering together and corporately lifting up our praise and worship to Him. What a joy as musicians in His service to have the opportunity to lead that time of worship.
But worship is so much more than just singing. Worship isn't just for Sunday services. Worship is how we live our lives, minute by minute, day by day, unto the Lord. Worship isn't a feeling - it's a choice - a choice of obedience.
I love the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. They had been arrested, beaten and thrown into prison. Acts 16:25 says, "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (ESV)
Now you know that they didn't feel like worshipping. They made a choice and lifted their voices in worship to the Lord, declaring their faith in His trustworthy faithfulness.
Another example is Abraham. Genesis 22:1-3 says, "After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him." (ESV) Abraham made a choice - obedience. His worship was lifted up through obedience to his completely trustworthy God. God was honored and Issac was spared.
Romans 12:1 calls us to that same obedience. "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (ESV) Laying ourselves on the alter as living sacrifices, dead to self, alive to God; It is expressed through our daily lives, the choices we make to be obedient to God's Word.
We express it through songs of praise when we gather together and corporately worship. Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (ESV) This is a life of worship! Let's encourage one another to live it. And as we gather to sing songs of worship let's sing from hearts that are committed to obedience.
Molly Shorter is full-time musician and worship leader in the service of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She works with church musicians, giving them opportunities to develop and use their God-given musical gifts for His honor and glory.
Along with leading a large worship team, she is also a teacher to budding musicians, a playwright and theater director, a composer, and the writer of your enouragement here at Christwill Music.