Growing through worship, no matter the cultural form: Ways to Grow in God

boy worshipping

by Laurie-Ann Copple

Last time we discovered that we grow well when trust God in the midst of suffering or difficult times. He is WITH us when we suffer. When we continually acknowledge Him in all aspects of our lives, he will direct the way we should go (Prov. 3:6).  We also grow in our faith through something far more comfortable than suffering – we can grow through worship. This growth is actually a by-product of our worship, since this adoration is directed to God. It’s not primarily for our benefit. However, we are created to be relational beings, so worshipping our creator impacts us greatly.  What kind of worshipper are you?  Are you able to worship Him in spirit and in truth?  And what exactly is worship?

Worship is something that we do naturally as humans; when we look at something or someone in absolute awe.  Worship itself should only go to God. Sometimes people or things draw our attention and are worthy of admiration, but never worship. Worship means to declare something/ someone worthy of worship. Worship should not be limited to only one cultural form of expressing your love for God.  If it is, then you may miss other forms of worship that are just as pleasing to God.  Worship isn’t just singing, but an attitude of the heart; and includes the work that God is doing in you while you worship Him.  This can include daily tasks, the arts, and so much more.

Some of you may have heard of popular English worship leader Matt Redman.  He wrote a song called “The Heart of Worship” that tells a story of an experience at his church.  Their worship music was selling well, but somehow their focus changed and the music became commercial rather than true worship.  Their church struggled for a while, and they sought the Lord on what could be wrong.  They were led by the Holy Spirit to not only give up worship music, but also music of any kind, for one year.  This must have been very difficult for a musician like Matt Redman!  During this fast, Matt learned that music is not the only way to worship God, and that they could be still before Him in quietness (somewhat like soaking prayer without the music).  When they were allowed to play music again, there was a completely different feel to it than there was before that year-long fast from music.  It was no longer a performance for the people of God, but an offering of worship to the Lord – so the music was for an audience of ONE, not many.  The lesson here is that it is easy to get caught up in what seemed to be worship of the worship music rather than the God we are worshipping. The same can be said of the style of worship music – be it hymns or praise songs. I believe that both of these are pleasing, so we don’t need to start worship wars over cultural differences. The different cultural forms of worship help US to be able to worship.

For some of us worship songs and rousing hymns are fun, but what’s going on in your heart?  Are you thinking about what you’re singing? When I was in northern Kenya, the people appeared to worship with all their heart and were physically demonstrative.  However, on our return mission two years later, the locals requested a talk on praise and worship.  I was confused about this until after prayer I understood the cultural form of their worship fooled me. To me, they sounded like singing angels with their African harmonies and percussion.  Worship is more than moving around and playing instruments, no matter how good it sounds. Worship is a heart attitude.  You can worship with no music at all, although that can be difficult to do at first.  Next time you listen or look at a worship song on the screen, think about the words.  What does this mean?  Do I mean this?

One worship scripture is very real to me: John 4:23-24.  Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well and they discussed about the Messiah and worship. His words to her also speak to us as we seek to learn about what true worship is.  He said, “That true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.  God is spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” Next time I will share what it means to worship in spirit and in truth.

Yours in Christ, Laurie-Ann Copple

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