The song ‘Heart of worship’ by Matt Redman paints a helpful picture of what worship in a Church set-up should be like. He says: “When the music fades, and all is stripped away, will I be able to come to God for nothing else but God?” The chorus says, “I am coming back to the heart of worship, where it’s all about you; I am sorry Lord for the things I have made it; it is all about you, Jesus.”
What, then, is worship? The most common word translated as worship in the Bible means to kneel or lay face down before someone as an act of reverence. Biblical worship acknowledges God as King, which should result in lives lived in light of that truth.
In our day, this is a critical thing to consider; what does it mean to have a heart of worship? When we come for fellowship during the week and weekends, how do I tell that I worship God from the heart when there is no emotional music and friends around me? We can refer to a few things (list not conclusive) to guide our bid to understand worship.
The Mark of a Heart of Worship
With the big buzz around worship bands and top-notch vocalists (I personally love the sound and feel of percussion, strings, drums and all other accompaniments during musical worship), many in the Church need to refocus on the basics of what a heart of worship is and what it is not. As in anything else in life, the foundation determines the quality. David Otten said, “No acceptable worship is possible unless faith in Christ is present. When and where faith is present, then all good works of a Christian are acts of worship.”
At the core of a heart of worship is a solid focus on these few things that should be the marks of a heart of worship;
- Salvation. When Nicodemus came to the Lord at night, he had a worship problem which needed a solution (John 3:1-16). Jesus told him he needed to be born again. As long as we are not in a relationship with Jesus, we are not close to having a heart of worship. I have not worshipped until I am in a relationship with the object of my worship. A heart of worship is evidenced by knowing and following Jesus Christ. When blind Bartimaeus got healed (Mark 10:50), he left everything and followed Jesus. Are you a follower of Jesus? If you have not started this journey, click the ‘RECEIVE CHRIST’ button at the top of the page for guidance. After receiving Christ, we move on to the next mark.
- Obedience. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Worship is marked by a life of obedience and not just mere outward and emotional expressions. The question I need to answer at a personal level is, “How am I doing in my journey of obedience?” God has given us his word for guidance and direction. As I abide in him (John 15), he becomes my most treasured desire–my focus of worship. The one to whom I kneel and bow down.
Those of us who the Master has cleansed ought to follow the example of Bartimaeus and look to Christ.
The Responses of a Heart of Worship
What does a heart of worship do? Assuming that we have settled the foundational issue (salvation), the second thing we ought to understand is how a heart of worship responds. Scripture tells us the story of the paralytic man who was lowered through the roof of a house (Luke 5:17-26) while Jesus was preaching. Jesus forgave his sins and healed his disease. His response, scripture says, brought glory to God. What does it mean to glorify God?
Glorifying means making much of God as He has already revealed he is. So the paralytic man went home making much of God–the one who had not only said he was able to heal but had actually healed him. When you realize the good that God has done for you, do you give him glory? How do you glorify God? By being bold about our faith and also being deliberate to obey God’s commands (Romans 4). Go forth and tell others about who God is and what he has done in the scriptures and in your personal life.
When God does good works in our lives that we never thought possible, we must respond by glorifying him. He deserves it. “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory.”
The Expressions of a Heart of Worship
Finally, a heart of worship is bold in its expressions of praise. Do you have issues expressing praise to God? For example, when Peter and John (Acts 3) interacted with the lame beggar at the gate, he left that place walking, leaping and praising God. This man did not keep silent about what God had done for Him. Praising God can be related to what the soccer fans do when their team wins the league or any random match. They are ecstatic and full of energy, shouting, jumping and singing signature songs. They do it for something that is not eternal.
We, who are born again, should do much more than soccer fans. God has done so much for us, and we ought to be deliberate in expressing praise to him. To have a heart of worship is to come into the house of God with joyful singing and praises (Psalm 47:1-9, 66:1-2, 98:4, Ezra 3:11 etc.).
What has God done for you today, yesterday or in the recent past that is beyond your comprehension? We need, like the beggar, to find ourselves in the house of God, walking, leaping and praising his name.
Do you see in you a growing heart of worship? You can refer to the scriptures to know if you are on track. Start with these three, and may you find your life reflecting the awesomeness of God and His majesty.