John 4:23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
Worship is a subject close to my heart as it is something I have learnt to become; a worshipper who not only worships on Sunday but every day. Worship is something I discovered the Father seeks and longs after, God is not just looking for converts, although we may begin our spiritual journey as converts, He is looking for those who love Him and know Him intimately and are not ashamed to express it and declare it. Worship is something that should be second nature to every believer, I call it 'Lifestyle Worship' as it becomes a daily part of our lives and who we are.
When I first came to know Christ I lived a life full of joy in the knowledge that I was saved, it was a time in my life of great rejoicing. There was nothing I would not do for Jesus; I would witness with a passion.
I would attend every meeting that was going as I was hungry for more of God's Word in my life. As I grew in the Word so too, I began to climb the leadership ladder, until I became an Elder and then the Assistant Pastor in our church, being responsible for; outreach, ushering, leading a home-cell group and preaching in our church.
I was very much service orientated, serving God with all of my heart. The cry of my heart had been “Lord use me!” This the Lord certainly did over a period of ten years from the time I was born again until I left my country of birth, Zimbabwe, to live in Australia.
For many Christians, my life would probably exemplify the life many may aspire to live; serving God and being used by Him to teach, preach and lead His people? I had lived my life to serve and please God, but I had not yet learnt to live my life to love Him. This was to be the second stage of my life in Christ; learning to love Him for who He is and not just loving His Word. Don’t misunderstand me; it is good to read and learn as much of God’s Word as we can, and to serve Him diligently in all we do, however there must also be a balance in our spiritual walk.
So the next stage of my walk with Jesus was taken up with learning what it means to be a worshipper, and returning to my first love, something I had forgotten in my quest for service. I learnt that we are engaged to Christ and will one day be married to Him (Rev 19:7) in the ‘Marriage Feast of the Lamb.’ So being engaged to Christ means we are living in a time of romance or courtship. It’s a time of getting to know one another, a time to fall in love and share love with each other. It’s a time of intimacy.
Jesus made this very clear when He spoke to Martha in Luke 10:38-42
“Now as they were travelling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Martha was motivated by a list of things to do; Mary was motivated by the person she spent time with; Jesus. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, looking into His eyes, seeing His love and feeling His love. She opened her heart to Jesus and took the time to find out what was on Jesus’ heart and her life was enriched. Mary took the time to find out who the real Jesus was, to see and feel His heart. This would have touched Mary’s mind, will and emotions in a way no list of rules, commands, or list of things to do could ever have touched her. Jesus went on to say that there is really only one thing that is necessary for us; to live our lives in His presence and out of His presence.
We are to live our lives with Jesus, not for Jesus.
If I live my life for Jesus it's me in action, I am a Martha.
If I live my life with Jesus it's Jesus in action, I am a Mary.
It's not what you do with your life, but who you spend it with!
You choose! Either rush around doing things for Jesus or spend time with Jesus and do things with Jesus.
The two crucial elements the Lord added to my life was:
a. Learning to love Jesus as a worshipper.
b. Learning how to hear His voice and live out of His voice.
Learning to become a worshipper has transformed my life, I have returned to my first love. I now experience His love and peace every day and I walk with an anointing I had never experienced before. I have come to know my God so much more intimately now and see Him as the lover of my soul.
In ‘Lifestyle Worship’ we will examine the life of a worshipper, and the call and desire of God’s heart towards His people whom He has redeemed and called by His name. Worship is something many misunderstand; believing it is something we do in church on Sunday and hence has become the definition of worship for many. Nothing could be further from the truth since worship is not something I do, but something I become, I become a worshipper, and my entire life becomes an expression of my love and adoration by the power of the Spirit flowing through me.
God is seeking a very specific type of worship, one based on intimacy with Him.
He does not seek ceremonial type worship, which takes one through the motions of worship, but which releases no life in the believer. Examples of this may be attending church because it's the right thing to do, it's how our parents raised us, it's our duty to the church and God, it's part of the church program. These all have the appearance of being good but do little to bring about any meaningful change to a person's heart and life, except to perhaps appease one's conscience. In ceremonial worship the heart attitude is closed to the Holy Spirit having any say in one's life, it is usually a one-way street being ritualistic in nature. This does not mean God limits himself only to certain types of churches; the limiting factor here is the attitude of man's heart.
Lifestyle Worship on the other hand, which is based on intimacy with God, will release the love, power and anointing of God in one’s life. As we enter into the presence of God so we are touched and transformed by His presence, as we come face to face with our redeemer and lover of our soul, and we see God for who He is. To be intimate with God is to know God, to love God and to be one with God, living our lives as one with Him. We have been created in His image, we are joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17) and we are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph 1:20).
(John 17:11 NASB) "And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.
Worship then may be defined as: ‘The expression of my heart in response to the abiding presence of God in my life’.
Time and location do not define worship but the attitude and expression of your heart in the presence of God. God seeks those who are led by His Spirit, who walk in revelation according to His Word and who openly express their love for Him.
Worship is a heart function, with a key being our heart attitude which we express daily in our walk with God. We enter into worship not because of a location and time (Sunday church service), but because we open our hearts to our sovereign God, to both love and be loved. Our heavenly Father loves to hear us express our love for Him and is moved by our open hearts towards Him. There are no restrictions as to when or where we may open our hearts; every day is a new day in which to worship our Lord and King.
I have learnt that the key to worship is to live my life with an open heart towards my Father while maintaining an attitude of dependence, love, humility and joy for my heavenly Father. The result of doing so in my life has been extraordinary peace in troubled times, being unmoved by the curved ball life sometimes has the habit of throwing at you. It has given me the assurance that God is in control of all things, and that nothing is impossible for those who believe and love Him (Mark 9:23).