While I’m running around Europe with my mom, I’m loading you down with info on spiritual growth . . . it all started when my mom handed me my “Spiritual Growth” journal from when I was a teen (see Tuesday’s post). When my pastor gave it to me, it started me on a journey that keeps getting better each day!
Your pastor may not have placed a three-ring binder in your hands, and you may be a new (or aging) believer but clueless about growing spiritually. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m glad to share with you some things I’ve found helpful in the decades that I’ve walked with Christ.
So far this week, we’ve looked at these four steps for growth:
- Be Rooted in Love
- Recognize the Need for Personal Discipline
- Taking Notes is Vital
- Find Your Quiet Place
Today, we’ll keep working our way through the steps toward spiritual growth with the next two:
- Worship Is Not An Option
It’s also not some hocus pocus mystical practice that sends you into frenzied and abnormal behavior, so don’t let me scare you off by talking about worship. When we worship Christ, it is a supernatural activity, but it’s not going to produce chaotic and strange phenomenon. But it will bring you into the presence of Almighty God.
The significant thing about worshiping God is, only one of us can be in control at a time. And if I’m on the throne, that’s a clear indicator of who is being worshipped . . . and it’s not God!
Worshiping God pushes me off the throne I’ve invented, and into the proper position—creature adoring her Creator.
A literal translation of the word worship is: to prostrate, crouch, to kiss (like a dog licking his master’s hand), to adore. Worship is getting low before God—it’s the heart condition which recognizes God’s status. It’s a disposition of humility that acknowledges He is God and I am NOT.
But worship is more than just getting low before God. It’s getting low because of admiration, getting low with a heart that’s filled with adoring love for One who far exceeds me in every way.
So what does worship look like in real life?
I think a starting place is making hard choices of obedience.
Remember what the first sibling spat was over?
The first one we see in Scripture, anyway—was over worship! Cain’s approach to worship seems to have been a little flippant—like the perspective that following God is no big deal . . . “I’m not going to become a fanatic or do anything too costly.” His approach led to a worship offering of his own invention—not the offering God required. Cain took a short-cut when it came to offering worship and exploded in jealousy when God accepted his brother’s offering over his.
Apparently, obedience matters a lot when it comes to worship!
Obedience to God demonstrates His position and value.
Thankfully, we’re no longer under the Old Testament system of worship that requires slaughtering any animals. But our acts of worship do require a kind of death. It is self-death; the death to self sitting on the throne. It is crucifying self as the “god of my life” and bowing to God as the supreme and only Sovereign.
Worship is saying “no” to my self-centered way of operating and “yes” to God’s way; demonstrating that God is God and I’m not. He’s in charge. He’s worthy of my obedience.
What is worship? Well, it can be:
- taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to a friend in need
- swallowing your pride to receive rebuke from a wise counselor
- giving your spot in the check-out line to the weary mom with four preschoolers
- keeping your commitment to your employer
- speaking the truth in love when your flesh wants to lash out
Don’t misunderstand—I’m not saying that worship is checking the box of good conduct. True worship comes from a heart which practices self-denial and obedience out of love for God—not from performing noble deeds with pride-filled motives. But if the actions I listed above are God’s mission for you today, then these acts of obedience are a fragrant offering. (And don’t forget, the power for obeying His mission for today comes through “breathing in His grace” for the moment.)
We could sum up the action of worship in two words: Loving God.
What greater form of adoration is there than love?
- Fill Your Life with Intimate Conversations
Prayer is something that is included with worship, but worship is an attitude of the heart, not just an action, and prayer is a separate spiritual discipline we need to consider. Prayer allows us to come up close, to settle in for an intimate conversation with our closest Companion and Friend, but it’s something with which most of us struggle.
I want to be a prayer warrior when I grow up. I’m not there yet, but I’ll share with you a few things I’ve found helpful through the years.
How would you describe your conversations with the Father through prayer?
How are you worshiping God today?
Oh, and if you’re wondering what I’m doing “running around Europe” with my mom (I’ve got a big smile as I type this) . . . then click here to check out the post that explains it all!