Noted Australian worship leader and singer-songwriter (formerly of Hillsong) Darlene Zschech once said this about worship: “Worship is an act of obedience of the heart. It is a response that requires the very core of who you are, to love the Lord for who He is, not just for what He does.”
Review with me the three main attributes of God, our Creator, that bring about worship from His creation:
– God’s Faithfulness (God’s faithfulness + acknowledging God’s faithfulness = worship)
– God’s Hope (God’s hope + acknowledging God’s hope = worship)
– God’s Love (God’s love + acknowledging God’s love = worship)
But, let’s not forget to review another key ingredient present in our formula for being a true worshiper. A vital element that was very present in the megathemes we observed earlier from Joshua’s life and from our study in Article 4 concerning real joy; that ingredient is obedience.
It’s not physical obedience that we are talking about either. No, we are talking specifically about what Darlene Zschech called “obedience of the heart [spirit].” Why? Because we cannot acknowledge God’s attributes without an obedient heart [spirit]. The physical obedience, our “works” if you will, will be a result of our spiritual obedience, but we cannot and will not become true worshipers of the Father through our physical works. It will always require an obedient heart at our core.
Look with me at Ephesians 2:8-10:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Now, this passage of Scripture is speaking specifically about our salvation in Christ, our first act of worship, but what is essential here is the principle behind these verses. Just as we can do nothing to be saved outside of being spiritually obedient to God’s call of salvation on our hearts, so can we do nothing towards becoming true worshipers of God outside of being spiritually obedient to acknowledge God’s attributes at the core of our worship.
So, let’s quickly look at our heart. Let’s define exactly what the heart is so we can fully comprehend its role in our obedience and our worship.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “heart” in this way:
(noun) 1) a hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation; regarded as the center of a person’s thoughts and emotions . . . ; one’s mood or feelings; courage or enthusiasm, 2) The center or inner most part of something; the vital part or essence.
In the Life Application Study Bible (NIV), “heart” is defined as “ (noun) organ that circulates the blood; the vital center of one’s being, emotions, and sensibilities.”
Just as our physical bodies require a physical heart to pump vital nutrients and oxygen through the bloodstream to all our various organs, muscles, and members, so too does our worship require a “heart” to pump God’s attributes (faith, hope, and love) from its core, out through our spirit, and further out into the body of Christ (aka: the church/other believers). When we are obedient and allow our “heart” to do this, then our spirit is able to truly worship God, whether individually or corporately.
Again, it’s the attributes of God and our acknowledgment of those attributes (through an obedient heart) that will produce the actions that equal worship.
(attributes of God + acknowledgment and application of God’s attributes in us = worship)
Now that we understand that we need to be obedient with our hearts to receive and acknowledge God’s attributes in our lives, and now that we comprehend that God must be at the center of our lives to be true worshipers of Him, let’s look at twelve ways we can begin to develop the discipline of being obedient to God, the Father, in our daily worship.
The first of the twelve concerns the reading and studying of Scripture. The Bible is very clear throughout its sixty-six books that the best way to grow close to God and avoid sin is to know and obey His word.
Do you want to remain pure? Psalm 119:9-11 tells us that if we are memorizing Scripture and living by the statutes of God’s Word, we can accomplish purity. Do you desire to live the spiritual life God intended? Then do as Proverbs 6:23 and Matthew 4:4 instruct and make God’s Word your guide and your sustenance. Do you seek God’s blessings? Then hear Christ’s instruction from Luke 11:28 to heed God’s Word and obey it. Do you wish to be filled with joy and gratitude in your worship? Then “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16). Are you uncertain that the love of God even lives in you? Remedy that by simply being obedient to God’s Word, as the writer of 1 John taught us in chapter 2, verse 5.
Being obedient to read and study Scripture is essential to our heart’s growth and well-being.
We have laid our foundation, set the cornerstone, and erected three walls on our temple of worship. When we connect next, we will continue in the construction of our fourth and final wall as we etch closer to completing our temple of worship.
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