There has been a battle cry in my heart lately. Christian, worship is so much more than your singing. Contrary to what you may hear in common Christian language, worship is more than music.
The realization that worship is more than singing has been something that has shaped and formed my praise of God like nothing else. It has been foundational to the development of my doxology, and has helped guide me in practically applying my developed beliefs.
The Bible says that worship is something we can do “in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) Worship is ascribing glory to God’s name. (1 Chronicles 16) In Romans 12:1-2, the Bible says that by offering our bodies to God as living sacrifices, we are worshipping God. Certainly, we can do this with singing and music. We use parts of our bodies to sing. Our mouths. Our vocal chords. Our diaphragms… whatever that is. We lift our hands and sway to the music. But, to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice” is so much more.
Christian, worship is so much more than your singing.
I think, if pressed, many Christians would agree that worship more than singing. The Bible calls all of life worship. While there are many scriptures that marry worship and song, musical worship is a very small (though vital) part of living a worshipful life. God’s glory is too great to be contained to a single vein of praise.
When we view our entire lives as worship to God, our reverence of worship should become more serious. I worship him in my work, in my study, and in my obedience to His word. I worship God in my practice and in my patience. I worship Him when I love my neighbor and when I pray for my enemies.
The Bible says that we are to do everything as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23) and the language we use should reflect exactly what we mean. By calling the songs we sing “worship,” and the men and women who lead us in those songs “worship leaders,” we are unintentionally diminishing the idea of what worship is and ought to be. Our language must be more precise, in order to keep from inadvertently muddying the waters of understanding; not just for ourselves, but for those who come after us. This isn’t being nit-picky, so much as it’s being incredibly practical.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the phraseology is common. I am dating a man whose official title is “Worship Pastor.” I also know, when broken down, that title is slightly misleading. While he is a music and band leader, he is also a discipler and a stage designer. He is a shepherd of souls and a builder of expectation.
He is talented, gifted, and exemplary in all that he does. But he cannot lead me in living out a lifestyle of worship. It’s impractical to believe that he could. His hand is not in my pockets as I worship God with my tithing. He isn’t over my shoulder as I study God’s word late at night, or when I’m in bed giving God thanks for another morning. He isn’t master of my heart.
My music pastor can encourage me in worship. He can direct the focus of my worship within the confines of a music set, and within the boundaries of our relationship. He leads as an example of worship, but, he doesn’t lead me in it. By God’s grace, I have been given the personal responsibility to train my worship on the One Who is worthy.
Christian, worship is so much more than your singing. There is more than music involved in living a worshipful life to a worship-worthy God. More than I can fit into one already lengthy post.
Friends. Your heart may not echo the cry of mine in this regard, but I challenge you to be willing to allow the truth of God’s word to change that. Consider this: as you dive into God’s word this week, pay special attention to the use of the word “worship” and the actions worship is associated with.
You may be surprised, but I promise you won’t be disappointed.