Worship: Our Response to His Seeking
Written by Bobby Moran
“Service as a substitute for worship is idolatry. Activity is the enemy of adoration. (Foster, 161).”
How would this statement change our lives if we actually decided that we were going to live out this mantra? Activities that fill our days may look different than they do now. In his book, “Celebration of Discipline,” Richard Foster urges us to make worship our number one priority. And frankly, I think he’s right!
“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” Jesus declared, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:36-37
So, if worship is our priority, we probably ought to define what it means to worship God, and then seek to understand how we get to this place of worship. In my experience, I believe most Christians, myself included, think of worship as things like singing, praying, washing feet or communion. In his book, Foster refers to these ideas as avenues that “only lead us into worship.” (159)
“The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father SEEKS.*”
John 4:23 (*emphasis mine)
As I think about this idea of worship, I think of it as our response to God seeking us. Worship is our response to the love that comes from God’s heart. It is the overflowing of our heart as we react to God’s love for us. It is real, unfiltered praise and adoration for God’s continuous pursuit of our hearts. Foster describes this encounter as “Spirit touching spirit,” and once we have arrived at that place, we’ve truly experienced worship. I feel this true worship when I get to a place of such gratefulness for God’s fierce pursuit of me that I can physically sense it. Oftentimes it feels like a weight that is placed on my heart. I would describe it as sensing the weight of God’s love for me through that worship experience.
Now if you’re anything like me, you’re left thinking, “Thanks, all of that is really beautiful, but how do I get to this state of worship?” Well, I’m glad you asked, because this is where we get to have some fun! Let’s circle back around to the different “avenues” that can help bring us into the spirit of worship. It seems to me that most people have different ways they prefer to express adoration for God. Those things can be anything from fly-fishing to listening to the Commonway podcast sermons. For me, the two things that really help me express my worship are singing with other people and being outdoors. Being the person that I am, things that are tangible and real help bring my worship full circle. Seeing creation and the way that God knit the Earth together so perfectly and intricately helps break down any barriers of disbelief and stubbornness. When I step outside and become immersed in it, I automatically find myself marveling, adoring and worshiping Him for the things he created for us to enjoy. The same thing holds true for me when I get to sing with other believers. When I hear other voices joining together to express their gratefulness through singing, it pushes my heart to enter this place of gratitude and worship for the things God has done in my life.
For most of us, the question still remains, “How do I enter into and stay in this continual state of worship?” I want to offer a thought which, I hope, begins to reshape our idea of how this can happen. I think a good number of believers remain in a state of worship and adoration a good part of the day. We express our love, and worship God, subconsciously in ways we probably don’t even identify as worship. As simple as this may sound, I really believe when we find ourselves being thankful for things like the author of our favorite book, our coworkers’ creativity, or even our mom’s home cooking, God receives that as worship. God created all things, and for us to express our adoration for those things is another way we worship our Father in heaven.
Write this way: As we spend time with the Lord during this season, let’s challenge one another to spend time in the forms of worship that we love the most and perhaps discover new ones. Finally, let’s begin to think about the things for which we worship God every day that may exist in our subconscious, but are very real to God.
About the Author
Bobby Moran is the Youth Pastor at Commonway. He grew up on a farm right down the road in Anderson, Indiana. Bobby attended Anderson University and graduated in May 2016 with a criminal justice degree. He loves the outdoors and spent a summer in Seattle, Washington, as a mountaineering and climbing guide with a Christian non-profit. Bobby recently married his college sweetheart, Sharla. They are excited to continue working with the youth together.