Worship turns out to be the dangerous act of waking up to God and to the purposes of God in the world, and then living lives that actually show it.
This definition of worship, which I first read in Alan Hirsch’s book Untamed, was made by Mark Labberton. What Labberton seems to be saying to us is that true worship of God produces in us an awe of God that moves us beyond our worship on Sunday morning (or whenever you gather for to worship with the family of God) to live lives that glorify God throughout the week.
I want to be careful here not to make our worship seem too pragmatic. The worship of God is an end in itself. God is worthy. He is deserving of our praise. We do not worship God in order to get a certain feeling or motivation to do something.
However, to say that we remain unmoved and unaffected when we worship God would be totally amiss. To not be changed by the knowledge of who God is and what He has done for us through the death and resurrection of His Son is not possible. To know God is to be changed by Him. Or, as the book title by G.K. Beale aptly proclaims: We Become What We Worship.
So if we become like that which we worship, then to worship God will lead to becoming like Him. Our lives will exhibit grace, mercy, and truth. We will love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And as James writes, If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:26-27).
As our worship of God changes all aspects of our lives, then naturally, our lives of work, whether we are students, stay-at-home parents, construction workers or business executives, will honor God. Our work lives will display our worship of God. But I would like to go one step further. Could it be that our lives at work not only exhibit our worship of God but also become our worship to God?
I want to be careful as to not make everything worship, but I also do not want to compartmentalize our worship of God either. The writer of Hebrews writes, Through him [Christ] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do no neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God (Hebrews 10:15-16).
This passage in Hebrews seems to suggest that “sacrifices,” our worship to God, involves not just praise from the lips, but our good deeds as well. So could it be that our everyday lives not only exhibit our worship of God but are, in fact, our worship to God as we work to His glory and do good to those around us?
What do you think?