Pursuing Our Destiny, Part 16–The Discipline of Worship
Give unto the LORD the glory due His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Ps. 29:2, ESV)
Prior to coming to First Baptist Church of Toms River, my wife and I served at Columbia Bible College & Seminary. I had the privilege for the first two years of our time there to work for Robertson McQuilikin, the president of the institution. He spoke in chapel one morning, talking about taking personal retreat time. His normal practice was to take his Bible and a hymnal, and he would spend his time away praying, reading, and singing. His retreats were times of worship.
The spiritual discipline of worship enables us to fulfill the instruction of the psalmist, but it also provides us with a regular way to express our own thoughts concerning God’s greatness and majesty. The word “worship” comes from two old English words, one that means “worth” and one that means “ship.” When we put them together, worship is the act of having worth or being worthy. Worship in the Christian tradition means to declare worth, to attribute worth. We speak, sing, or act in ways that declare the worthiness of God to receive our praise and honor.
Don Whitney, in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life says that this spiritual discipline of worship involves speaking, listening, and doing. We worship when we pray or sing or give a word of testimony. Listening to God’s Word read, taught, or preached is an act of worship. When we serve in any way, when we give our tithes and offerings, when we share our time or talents, we are worshiping. Even the most menial jobs, when done for God’s glory, are acts of worship.
We should also note that worship in both the Old and New Testaments has a personal form and a corporate form. Scripture is clear that the two forms aren’t an either/or practice. Rather, we are to be both/and worshipers. There is a place for us to be alone with God—notice all the times Jesus got alone with the Father—but there is also the necessity for us to worship with other believers. We must never forget the clear words of the writer of Hebrews: . . . not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
I like the way Kelli Mahoney explains worship to teens: As we practice the spiritual discipline of worship, we learn to experience God in His glory. We easily identify His works in our lives. We seek out our time with God in prayer or conversation. We never feel alone, because we always know God is right there with us. Worship is an ongoing experience and connection with God.
Allow me to suggest two things each of us can do to develop the spiritual discipline of worship. First, we can commit ourselves to a daily time of quiet devotions that include some time ascribing to God His worthiness of our praise and honor. Secondly, we can commit ourselves to weekly times of worship with brothers and sisters in Christ. That worship includes singing God’s praise, offering Him our praise in prayer, and listening to and receiving God’s Word through the reading of Scripture and preaching.
No time is better than now. How can you build the discipline of worship into your life this week? – Pastor John Strain is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger and is available for pulpit supply.
Quote of the day: There is only one alternative to obedience to Christ, and that’s disobedience. Dr. Adrian Rogers
Verse to Memorize: Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do keep your commandments. – Psalm 119:165-166