The word, “worship” is probably the most misunderstood word among believers and nonbelievers alike. To some it means to bow before an item, person, or deity; to others it means to lift your hands during a slow song at church, and yet to others, worship is the actual slow song itself. All these answers are in some degree wrong but are also right!
In the dictionary, worship is defined as:
Noun: “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”
Verb: show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites.
So is bowing before an altar, or to the Lord considered worship? Sure it is, but how about lifting your hand during a song? Why not? How about playing the slow song itself? Sure, that can be worship. All of these actions can be called worship. But it only truly becomes worship when the actions (bowing, lifting of hands, etc.) are a reflection and a result of what is happening in the hearts of people. Believe me, people can lift their hands up high and sing along to a song while having impure thoughts. For example, the man or woman who practicing premarital sex can bow before the altar too. The unsettling fact is that the actions can be faked.
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Matthew 15:8 NIV
As worship director in the church I’m privileged to serve, I am in constant prayer to protect the integrity of His stage. The fact that we get to stand on that stage and usher in His presence to His people is an honor. Relying completely on prayer to decide who sings or plays on the stage and even what songs are sung is a process of completely removing me, my thoughts, my wants, and my intentions from the equation. Recently, the experience of praise and worship has hit an all time high. With the Holy Spirit making the calls, how can we expect anything less? The people He chooses have the right heart-set to be emptied of themselves and filled with The Spirit. Again, the key to true worship is the posture of heart behind the actions.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
Now don’t fool yourself into thinking that worship is only related to things that happen within the four walls of a church building. In fact, more true worship can and should occur during the week, from Sunday to Sunday. If your heart is in constant pursuit of fulfilling His will, you can be in constant worship of the Lord. Your outward expression will reflect the love that you have in your heart. It will overflow to you family, friends, and coworkers. Even those family members, friends, and coworkers that may not be so pleasant in the world’s eyes. Your demeanor can have the potential to bring people to salvation. The world might see your joy or how you handle a tough situation, and be inspired. They will want to know what you have that makes you different, to which you get the privilege to answer, “I have Jesus!”
I used to think that, “Worship” is a slow song we sing on Sunday morning. Worship isn’t a slow song at all, it’s the heart behind that slow song, the heart behind the person bowing or lifting their hands. Most importantly it’s Jesus and all the love, peace, and comfort that comes only with Him.