Jesus spoke to a crowd that He had earlier fed with bread and fish: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:26-29)
Wouldn’t it be strange to attend a party in honor of someone and never give any attention to them? Yet some “worship” times seem like that.
Worship has different components. Part of it is thanking God for what He has done for us – saving us through Jesus and blessing us in many other ways. Worship includes praising Him for all His wonderful attributes and activities. Worship also involves adoring Him simply for who He is and enjoying a sense of His presence.
How can we tell “good” worship? I’m not convinced we can, really. No one sells a Worship-o-meter! Only God knows whether, “That was a great time of worship!” We might be thrilled by the beat, melodies and inspiring lyrics, but the question is: are we focused on God?
Sometimes our thankfulness morphs into reveling in what His blessings do for us, rather than directing gratefulness to Him. Our love of His presence and the reality of His life-changing touch during worship are precious but there’s a danger of pursuing Him for the benefits and the feelings rather than for Himself.
Now I am not discounting good music and celebration of the benefits He has given. Worship should include our emotions. But if those things are the sum of our worship then perhaps we have become self-indulgent party-goers. We arrive at the celebration only to enjoy the band, or the great spread of food the host provided, or the comfort of his home and furniture, or each other’s company. However, worship is like a party thrown in honor of God; worship focuses on Him.
Ask yourself during a worship time, “Am I singing to God, or about Him?” Develop your own worship times (with or without music). Begin by thanking Him for what He has done for you. Move on to praising Him for who He is. Go on to speak words of love to Him. Express it by kneeling, bowing, or lying before Him. Create songs or poems in His honor, or use familiar words. At times, we can simply bask in His presence in love and adoration. But always, worship is directed to God.