True Worship

John 4:23-24 says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” There is a saying that many of us as Christians has grown accustomed to hearing: “God inhabits the praise of His people.” This phrase is not a direct quote from scripture. It comes from Psalm 22:3 which says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praise of Israel.” This verse is a reference to the sanctuary or the place where Israel worshipped the Lord. Even thou the exact phrase “God inhabits the praise of His people” is not found in scripture, I do believe that it is true based on what we see in John 4:23-24. The Father seeks out those who would worship Him. He embraces worship. Anytime God’s people are engaged in worship, God is there.

The word worship means to attribute worth to an object or to someone. To worship God is to attribute worth to Him. Revelation 4:10-11 says, “The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne saying, ‘Thou are worthy to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” In the Greek, worship is proskuneo. It means to kiss like a dog licking his master’s hand. It also means to prostrate oneself, to bow down. G. Campbell Morgan said, “The supreme thing is worship. The attitude of worship is the attitude of a subject bent before the King. The fundamental thought is that of prostration, of bowing down.”[1]

When we think of true worship, there are two things that come to mind: submission and honor. Let’s look at both of these things in light of what we see in Revelation 4:10-11.

Submission. The first thing we see the elders doing is falling down before the Lord. They put themselves in a posture of submission. Just like a dog bowing and submitting to its master. They fall prostrate on the ground. This is an act of surrender. It is an act of total submission to God. You cannot worship God unless you are submitted to Him. You cannot live a life of worship and fulfill God’s doxological purpose in your life without living a life of submission to His will. Are you totally submissive to Christ? Is there anything in your life that is hindering you from total submission?

Honor. The second thing the elders do is bring honor to the Lord. How do they are honor Him? They honor Him by casting their crowns before the throne. Joseph S. Carroll says, “It is imperative that we observe that there is first the submission and second the casting of their crowns before the throne.”[2] The purpose of wearing a crown is to give attention to the one wearing it. It is a symbol of honor and glory. When we cast our crowns before the Lord, we are saying that we want Him to be exalted. We do not want glory for ourselves, we want glory to be given to the Lord. This goes against our very nature. “These three things are what men seek: to be glorified, to be exalted, to be honored. Therefore, to worship Jesus Christ we must divest ourselves of all desire for glory and honor and power; for He and He alone is worthy of such.”[3] Casting our crowns is not just something we will do in heaven. It is something we should do now. To truly worship Him, we must surrender any and all attention that is placed on ourselves, and we must put all attention on Jesus. Whatever we achieve, whatever crown we wear, it is to be placed upon the one that is worthy. There is only one who is worthy and that is Jesus.

The one thing that Satan will oppose more than anything else is our worship of Jesus. If he can get our focus on ourselves and our own achievements, then he has won a victory over us. The one thing that Satan does not want you to do is worship Jesus. In his book, how to worship Jesus Christ, Joseph S. Carroll lays out three difficulties when it comes to worship:

Developing spiritual senses. As John 4:24 tells us, “God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit.” When we worship Jesus, we grow closer to Him. We become more aware of Him. “We know that the body has senses; but the spirit also has senses, and it is by the senses of our spirit that we are made conscious of the presence of Christ.”[4] How do we develop such spiritual senses? By worshipping Jesus. By spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer. As we become more aware of Jesus through worship, we become more aware of His desires for us.

Setting the will. “You will never be a worshipper of Christ apart from a definite act of your will.”[5] God creates us with a free will. Some will say that our free will was destroyed at the fall. I do not believe this to be the case. Even though man is full of sin and has a natural tendency toward sin, he still has a will. Therefore, when it comes to worship, it is not something that we are forced to do. We do have a choice. For the believer, we must make a conscious decision everyday to worship Him. We must set our will to worship. This is very difficult for us to do. In order to set our will to worship, we must develop those spiritual senses. It is in developing our spiritual senses that we become sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and we obey His call for us to worship Jesus. There must be a determination on our part to worship Him. We must determine to worship Him. We must draw the line in the sand and make the decision to live a life of worship every moment of everyday.

Maintaining Priorities. The thing or person that you submit to is who or what you will worship. In order to truly worship Jesus, our priorities must be in order. What is the priority of your life? Is it to do good things? Is it to serve Jesus or is it to worship Jesus? We must understand that worship always precedes service. You cannot serve Jesus effectively unless you worship Him first. What you worship is what will control you. If you worship your job, your job will control your life. If you worship your family, your family will be all that demands your attention. If you worship ministry, the ministry will take over your life and control you. But, if you worship Jesus, He will take control. His desires will become your desires and you will live in the freedom that comes in serving Him.

Developing your spiritual senses, setting your will, and maintaining your priorities is some of the most difficult things to do. However, it begins with submission to Christ and bringing honor to Him by casting your crowns at His feet. God is looking for you to worship Him. He is waiting for you to worship Him. When you do, He will draw close to you and will do amazing things in your life.

[1] Morgan, G. Campbell.

[2] Carroll, Joseph S. How to Worship Jesus Christ.

[3] Carroll, Joseph S. How to Worship Jesus Christ.

[4] Carroll, Joseph S. How to Worship Jesus Christ.

[5] Carroll, Joseph S. How to Worship Jesus Christ.

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