Article 14

Living Your True Purpose (Header)

Living Your True Purpose (Article 14)Psalm 40, by CCM artists Newsong, was one of fifteen songs recorded for their live worship album entitled Rescue. This particular track was released as a single, in 2005, Music Notes 1 and is basically a paraphrase of Psalm 40:1-3, which reads:

“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”

Singing to God our testimonies of faith, our praises of gratitude, and our expressions of love have long since been apart of our individual and corporate worship. But what so many Christians fail to realize is that enjoying and singing worship music is not, in and of its self, worship.

What worship is, is a humbling of ourselves before God. From within that posture of humility, we can do many things before God. We can shout praises to Him, and be thankful that God is so merciful. We can raise our hands, like a child longing to be embraced by their father, and experience God’s holiness and love. We can testify to God’s grace and loving kindness towards humanity, to one another, and we can also express these sentiments and testimonials through our singing.

You see the singing of contemporary Christian songs, hymns, or even praise and worship music is not worship, but it certainly is one of many acts of worship. Worship is more than singing, because it can be defined as both a noun and a verb. Singing is only a verb. Worship is the blending of who we are, in Christ, with our actions of devotion to Christ. The way we blend the noun and the verb is best laid out in this formula that I introduced from within another study on worship entitled The Joshua Project.

In this formula we see that it requires the attributes of God, and our acknowledgment and application of those attributes, to produce the actions that equal worship.

(attributes of God + acknowledgment and application of God’s attributes in us = worship)

God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 33:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:3); so as we come to know God’s faithfulness, and acknowledge the ways in which He has been faithful to us, we can in turn be more faithful to Him and see our faith grow. This faithfulness becomes a part of our lives and is seen by God as worship.

Our hope for salvation lies within God’s Son, Jesus Christ (Psalm 18:2; John 14:6; Acts 4:8-12). As we embrace salvation, through Christ, and acknowledge that our hope lies only from within Jesus’ sacrifice, then we can become transformed into true believers and grow closer to God. This acceptance of salvation becomes a part of our lives and is seen by God as worship.

God is love (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 4:8, 16); so as we learn more of God’s loving kindness, and acknowledge the ways in which He has shown us His love, we can then be more loving towards Him and see His love for humanity grow in us. True love, then, becomes a part of our lives and is seen by God as worship.

Darlene Zschech, a noted Australian worship leader and singer-songwriter (formerly of Hillsong), 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.”

Well stated, Darlene. “An act of obedience of the heart,” is key to applying the above formula for experiencing true worship in our lives. 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 our Creator 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 in closing, let’s eagerly and gladly sing a “new song” to God. Let’s sing of His faithfulness, grace, and love, but let us understand that this is an act of worship — it’s not worship, as a whole. Real worship is when we see the attributes of God, and acknowledge and apply those attributes through an obedient heart, which in turn produce the actions that equal worship.

(attributes of God + acknowledgment and application of God’s attributes in us = worship)

Living Your True Purpose by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Psalm 40 lyrics and music written by (unknown). Copyright © 2005 Integrity Music, and Epic Records, a division of Sony Music. All Rights Reserved.

Video made available by Jason Ministries and Integrity Music, and Epic Records, a division of Sony Music; Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.