Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
God, what does it look like to make worship a lifestyle?
Here’s what God has taught me about worship the last few months:
Worship is a heart posture.
One of the things God has taught me over the last year is that worship is not confined to a song. Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is a heart posture.
It has little to do with what we are doing and a lot to do with how we are doing it.
I love the idea of a heart posture. I learned it from a friend of mine in youth group years ago. In worship, is your heart standing with crossed arms and stiff shoulders? Or is your heart small and kneeling at the feet of its healer?
Worship is getting smaller.
Being small, too. God has convicted me of this. There was a time I used to look at people who lifted their hands in church and think: “well, they’re holy. They’re doing the hand thing. They got to be. Gosh, I can’t even compete.”
But worship is not a competition.
And worship is about getting smaller, not getting bigger.
John the Baptist says of Jesus in John 3:30-31 says, “He must become greater; I must become less. The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth.”
I think that’s what worship looks like as a lifestyle. Getting smaller so Christ can be magnified. Sometimes that means lifting your hands up to your father like a small child. Sometimes that means getting on your knees and clutching your broken heart in a puddle on the ground.
We are just people! He is God! Who deserves the praise and honor and pride?
Worship is not about us.
I’ve always loved to sing.
Back when I was little, before I even started to write, my dream was to become a song artist. I was obsessed with the idea of getting onto America’s Got Talent, because I saw other kids my age singing and going far in the competition, sometimes even winning. I thought I could do it, too.
I took singing in the shower a step further than the normal kid. I used to imagine the three white tiles in front of me were the America’s Got Talent judges and I was on the stage, singing whatever was on the menu for that shower time. I’d imagine they’d judge my performance and I’d walk away a champ. Howie Mandel would do that wavy-finger thing he does and say, “Youuuuu’re terrific, don’t you know that?” It would be awesome.
Well, God had different plans for my voice than that particular thing. Because along with big, vivid dreams about singing, I also had this petrifying fear of performing in front of people.
I kid you not, I never sang a note to anyone other than God until I was 16 years old.
But God did something special then. Because my dream back then had always centered around myself. People praising me, me getting famous, me singing in front of thousands. God was out of the picture.
But as the years went by, God became my audience of one. And soon, He became not only my audience, but my reason for singing. And then the subject matter for all my songs.
By the time I was 16, my voice had been God’s and only God’s for 10 years. I hadn’t shared it with anyone else. And it was special that way, saving a gift God had given me for Him.
But it was time. God nudged me to leading worship in youth group, and then singing at Lutheran, and then for Sunday service. He keeps nudging me, it’s the darnedest thing;-)
Singing is hard though. Not the actual singing, but the heart from where the worship comes. So many times, I’ve found myself leading a worship song and completely glossing over the words, more concerned about hitting a note than understanding a lyric. My heart of worship turned sour.
My heart of worship turned into a heart of performance, and I battle that heart of performance every single time I lead worship.
It’s easy to swallow all the compliments like candy and keep them for yourself. It is much harder to give all those little joys and honors to the One who deserves them, the One who gave me the ability to sing in the first place.
Worship is giving to God’s what is God’s.
Worship, as a lifestyle, is giving to God what is God’s. My voice is God’s. It always has been. To run off with it myself would be to steal one of God’s precious instruments for his glory. It would be to rob my creator.
Giving to God what is God’s, gosh it’s hard. Choosing to give God your heart when all you want is to give it to the future spouse you’re not quite sure even exists. Choosing to give God a piece of your time every day, even though the demands are pulling at every corner of your frayed brain. Choosing to give God your talents when the world seems to value and praise them more, though you know it’s a lie. This is what worship looks like.
It’s not just a song. Worship doesn’t come in 3 minute packages.
Worship is magnifying.
Psalm 40:16 says, “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!'”
There is no neutral ground this side of heaven. You’re either promoting God’s kingdom or your own empire. And the devil does a good job of confusing them both.
But a life of worship magnifies God, magnifies who He is, magnifies the kingdom.
Worship is uncomfortable.
I’ve heard this a lot during worship: “If you feel comfortable, lift your hands.”
But you know something? All the times I’ve lifted my hands or got to my knees, it was maybe one of the most uncomfortable things I could have done in that moment. But that’s just it. Worship is uncomfortable.
I think instead we should say, “If God is calling you to do something uncomfortable and get on your knees right now, do it. Because worship is uncomfortable. But you won’t regret being uncomfortable to be close to your savior.”
Worship is a lifestyle.
Your job can be worshipful. The way you put your kids to bed at night can be an act of worship. How you speak to others can either glorify God or glorify the devil. The way you cook or write or dance or think can all be beautiful worship, a sweet song to God’s ears.
So we worship you, Lord. In everything we do. We worship you. We worship you.