Four Foundational Convictions About Worship: Part 1
What is worship? This question evades even the most devoted followers of Jesus. For some, the word worship immediately produces mental images of music, singing, and the corporate gathering of believers on a Sunday morning. For others, worship functions as a mystical, elusive world in which only the really spiritual people can hope to enter.
As we seek to navigate this tricky world of worship, we must always come back to the Scriptures. Our opinions and preferences don’t actually matter in this discussion. The Bible must form our thinking and understanding of worship as it does every area of life.
In this 4-part series, we will discover four foundational convictions that every follower of Jesus should wrestle with and adopt.
Conviction # 1: True worship occupies the heart and mind with God.
From the dings of push notifications and Facebook likes, to the alerts of scheduled reminders and texts messages, the digital age in which we live contains no shortage of interruptions. Our lives are absolutely flooded with distractions that seek to occupy a small slice of our attention. Our minds are bombarded constantly with focus-stealers that temporarily usurp our thoughts and become the object of our meditation. As weird as it may seem, I have just described worship. We worship that which occupies our minds and hearts.
In Isaiah chapter six, we catch a glimpse of a very unique God-encounter. Here’s Isaiah, the prophet of God, a man responsible for hearing the voice of God and relaying God’s message to an entire nation. The king has recently passed away, and Isaiah finds himself in the temple of God, hoping to hear a new word–hoping God would meet with him. But he got much more than that. He not only received a word from God, he received a life-altering vision of God.
He says, “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’” (v. 1, 4-5).
Isaiah’s response illustrates what it looks like when God becomes the sole focus of our attention and affection.
When God occupies our minds, He then overwhelms our hearts. When He overwhelms our hearts, we live a life of overflow that pours out in praise, gratitude, adoration, thanksgiving, wonder, awe, excitement, and passion.
Overflow is synonymous with proper response, and God’s revelation dictates that response. Matt Boswell, Worship Pastor at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas writes, “The rhythm of worship is revelation and response: our beliefs about God’s revelation dictate our response” (Matt Boswell, Doxology and Theology, p. 18). Simply stated, worship is my response to His revelation.
This may be a good time to ask yourself, “what most often occupies my mind and heart? When I am commuting to work, where are my thoughts focused? When I am washing dishes, what is my mind dwelling on? Through the normal rhythms of life, do thoughts of God occupy my mind and heart?”