I realized again, following a discussion on praise and worship, that worship is indeed, a big word. Maybe that’s because God is BIG… It’s one of those words that bear personal and corporate meanings. It is both a noun and a verb and looks slightly different depending on the angle that you are considering it from.
I also realized that, in the church, it has possibly become somewhat of an overused word not unlike the word ‘love’. It has become the name of church gatherings (worship service), been labelled the reason for division (worship wars) and branded as a genre of music. In some ways it has developed into all we do from the preaching to the gathering to the praying. Somehow I can’t help but wonder if the essence of worship, the true, specific meaning of it has been encumbered by all of the things that we do. Have we made the term so broadminded, that we have forgotten its meaning?
Here’s what the dictionary says:
wor·ship [wur-ship] Show IPA noun, verb, wor·shiped, wor·ship·ing or ( especially British ) wor·shipped, wor·ship·ping.
1. reverent honour and homage (tribute, service) paid to God or a sacred personage,
or to any object regarded as sacred.
2. adoring reverence or regard
3. to render religious reverence and homage to
4. to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).
before 900; (noun) Middle English wors ( c ) hipe, worthssipe, Old English worthscipe, variant of weorthscipe; see worth, -ship; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun
In other words… If I interpret straight from this dictionary definition, I see that worship is the recognition of someone’s great worth and the bowing down to it. When I hear terms like ‘adoring reverence’, ‘homage’ and ‘reverent honour’ I am moved at how deep and significant this really is. It appears that worship is an expression of complete surrender and doing the bidding of someone reverenced, admired, and loved in a most extreme way. I used the word expression purposely ... for surrender without declaration is not worship. It might be slavery though...
When I consider God, my focus of worship, I am struck by His majestic power and payment for my sin, His kindness and mercy toward me, His gift of bringing me into His family and giving me eternal life. I find that I am so enamoured with Him that I am compelled to find ways to show my affection. I want to bow in reverent honour, pour out my thoughts with expressive adoration, and give my life as service to my King. I want to learn what pleases Him and love-on-Him in that manner; so much so, that He becomes my passion … my appetite and desire.
That’s why I suggest that ‘worship’ is a big word. It is a serious one that has great significance. It is something that I can only give to one, and that is God. And, because of that, I need to know His definition of it.
For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.' Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8; Deuteronomy 6:13