What is Worship? 7 Stages – 30 Bible Basics

Shyju Mathew

"Experience the Word of God, in the power of the Spirit."

February 2, 2012

This entry is part 13 of 30 in the series Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics

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Worship is something amazing. It is extremely complex and yet so profoundly simple.

There’s a drive on the inside of each one of us to worship something or someone, be it their role models, sports stars or even things like money, food, etc. Look at the number of ‘worship places’ around, or the 1000 mile pilgrimages that people go- – it tells you that something on the inside of us makes us want to worship.

But what actually happens in worship?

Stages of Worship

For the sake of understanding, we can divide the process of worship into seven stages:

1. Seeing

2. Admiring

3. Appreciating

4. Praising

5. Imitating

6. Emulating

7. Becoming

The Bible says in Romans 1: 20 that, since the beginning of the world, God’s invisible attributes, His divine nature and His eternal power have been clearly seen. So we see His invisible attributes and that leads us onto a pathway of worship. So firstly it’s all about seeing.

As you see your object of worship and get drawn to something good in it, you begin to admire your object of worship. As you admire, you appreciate. As you begin to appreciate, you begin to praise your object of worship. When you praise, you’re actually sharing your worship with someone else because you’re telling others as well about this object of worship. Praising your object of worship leads you to want to imitate it. From imitation, it takes you to emulation where you want to do everything you can to be like that. Eventually, as the psalmist says in Psalm 115: 8, “Those who make them (objects of worship) will become like them…” And this applies to anyone – even in the case of a film star or a sports star, the same sequence follows.

Couple of points to remember:

Created to worship

The Bible says in John 4:23, 24: “…the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (ESV)

We were originally created to worship God and find fulfillment in Him. No where else in the Scripture is it mentioned that God is seeking something. That’s because He Himself is self-sufficient. But He is seeking worshippers who will worship Him. He is seeking true worshippers. That means there could be false worshippers as well.

False worshippers tend to worship variable “Created” things while true worshippers worship the un-changeable “Creator” God who doesn’t change with time.

Variable things change. Film stars are here today, and gone tomorrow; sports stars are here today, then they are gone; objects of worship are here today, and soon they are gone. Suppose I worship an animal, like a tiger, it is there today and it’ll be gone tomorrow. So these are all variable things. If we worship them, we’ll be let down.

Redeemed to Worship

Throughout the Bible, you will see this one theme that God redeems us with the sole purpose to worship Him. In Exodus 8: 1, God tells Moses to go and tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go so that they may worship me.” That’s so amazing! God, from time to time, sent a deliverer for His people to be freed from slavery that they might worship Him. That’s because we are so bound to worship something! In the process of losing our knowledge of God because of sin, we tend to worship something lesser than God. So God sends a deliverer. In our case, God sent Jesus Christ, who came and redeemed us, so we could now understand what worship really is and that now we could worship Creator God once again.

Many people think of worship to be an act. Like, if I go to this particular temple, if I go to this particular sacred river, if I go to this holy place or go to that holy mountain, then I’m worshipping. But Jesus makes it clear when He comes on the scene and when He talks to the Samaritan woman. He tells her that it’s no longer about a place, it’s no longer about a holy mountain, and it’s no longer about a pattern of worship. All of that is broken down. Now the true worshippers will worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24:).

“The temple is no more sacred…Rather; it is your body which is the temple of God’s Spirit”

So in Jesus, we have actually re-gained our lost purpose of worship. We’ve found it again; we’ve understood it once again. The Bible says in Romans 12:1-3, to offer your body as a living sacrifice is the ultimate way of worshipping God. The temple is no more sacred. There is no holy place that is sacred. Rather, it is your body which is the temple of God’s Spirit. So when you honour your body, when you honour God with your body, you’re actually worshipping God.

In summation, all of the activities that you do in life are considered as worship before God. Many of us might be still worshipping something lesser than God. So while we have all of these vague ideas of worship, let’s understand one thing. Let’s look to Jesus who came, died for us, to redeem us so we could now worship God. When we discover God, when we see Him more and more, through His word, by His Spirit, then we begin to understand what worship is.

So if I’m to go over that sequence again, when we see how awesome God is, then we begin to admire this wonderful God. When we admire Him, we begin to appreciate Him. When we appreciate Him, it results in praise and we begin to say good things to Him and also tell people about this great God. When we praise God, we want to be like Him and imitate Him, which is a good thing. When we imitate Him, we begin to emulate Him. In fact we try to be all that we can to be like Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. And when we emulate Him, we should rest assured in the Scriptures that one day, we will become like Jesus.

So that just completes this whole beautiful, profound cycle of worship. I guess I’m still just scratching on the surface. There’s so much still to be said about worship. But I think it’s a good place to start. God bless you.

Discussion: What is worship to you? How do you define it?


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