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When man was created God breathed His Spirit into him and he became a living soul. He was the only created being that could communicate and commune with his Creator. From the very beginning he was created to worship. Worship, the highest exercise of which man is capable, is a moral imperative. It means to ‘bow down, fall prostrate before, make obeisance to,’ because He alone is ‘worthy’.
“Worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. If you have not been worshipping, when you get into the work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.” Oswald Chambers
A. W. Tozer said, “Worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism.” One of the reasons for a lack of ‘true’ worship is because we have such a faulty concept of God. Holiness is necessary to His existence as God and His blessedness is in His holiness. His glory is the outshining of His holiness, the same glory He desires to share with man. His holy character is the standard for His children and that standard is necessary for man to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” True worship requires that some things be held in common, hence the admonition, “As He which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.” The Psalmist cried, “let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” Until we are willing to make a full and complete surrender of our total being to Him we can never realize the real purpose of our creation. It was not until Isaiah went into the Temple and saw God high and lifted up and heard the creatures saying, “holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts,” that he realized that he was undone. It was then that the seraphim flew unto him with a live coal, touched his lips, took away his iniquity and purged his sin that he was then enabled to worship God out of a pure heart. Alexander Maclaren said, “there must be the inward worship within the shrine (heart) if there is to be outward service.” Isaiah realized this fact and following the purging of his heart he heard the “voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me.”
William Temple defined worship as:
“The submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of the mind by His truth, the purifying of the imagination by His beauty, the opening of the heart to His love, and the submission of our will to His purposes. All of this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of human expression of which we are capable.”
The thought of worship, its true object and its only acceptable mode, is expressed in the burning heart of the Psalmist when he cried, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!” To enter into worship one must have a true (unhidden) heart.
It is impossible to truly worship God without a personal relationship with Him. We can administer our rituals, go through the forms of religion and even quote our creeds but Christianity is more than the rehearsal of a creed it is a vital relationship with Christ. C. S. Lewis says: “It is in the process of worship that God communicates His presence to men.” That relationship is maintained by having a clean heart and “walking in the light as He is in the light.” Light is as exclusive of darkness as holiness is to sin.
Satan does not care how much you exercise your religiosity such as joining the church, practicing your liturgy, paying your tithes and offerings, singing songs, saying prayers etc., as long as you do not abandon your total being to God. Satan knows man was created to worship and so he offers a substitute for true worship. In creation man was made in the image of his Creator. The fall brought about a severance of that relationship and a loss of that image. Since then sinful man has been trying to return the favor and make God in his image. He has turned inward in himself. God has been dethroned and man’s ‘ego’ is seated on the throne. He now bows at the shrine of self-interest and self-indulgence. When man rejects the true and living God he will make a god of his own and the god that he bows to will not condemn the sin that he loves. The worship he practices, be it formalism or fanaticism, is nothing but a sham. The devil is pleased to see people worship as long as the element of holiness is absent. He is the great deceiver and always is ready to offer a sense of false security. Satan is not only the accuser, but the distorter of the brethren.
True worship will always conform the worshipper to the image of Christ and any religious activity that does not accomplish this blessed result is counterfeit. The purpose of redemption is to restore man to the image of Christ that was forfeited in the fall. Jesus speaking to the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well said, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.”
We can honor God with our lips but we worship Him with our heart. Our service is preceded by our worship. This truth is illustrated by an incident that occurred in the life of A. W. Tozer. After being invited to speak at Wheaton College he turned down the opportunity to speak to inquiring students. The reason for his reluctance was because he required two and a half hours of prayer for every hour that he preached. As he would be preaching two hours daily, he would need five hours in prayer. When you listen to his messages or read his books, as it was with Peter and John, “they realized he had been with Jesus.” Realizing that, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” let us, with great adoration, take the time to worship Him “in the beauty of holiness.” Let us seek to live our lives “holy, acceptable unto God” so that holiness of heart and life will shine forth to the glory of God our Creator.