Archive for April 19th, 2009

This blog is the first in a new series of blogs called “The Heart of a Worshipper” series, or HWS. May you be blessed and transformed as you grow in your own worship of the King of Kings.

Changed by Intimacy with God
I am an enthusiastic worshipper, but I haven’t always been so. I’ve known and followed the Lord for almost thirty years. Throughout that time, I’ve done a lot of teaching and shepherding, but it wasn’t until about fourteen years ago that I started to become a worshipper – that is, I began to understand the difference between singing hymns and songs in church services and worshipping God. Those who have known me for only a few years can’t begin to know the degree to which I was an uptight, overly serious, self-conscious worshipper of God. Much of the change that I have experienced has come through the transformation that occurs as I pursue God in worship.

Let me say at the outset that I recognize that worship is so much more than spending time with God. Many things can be considered part of our worship, including acts of obedience and service. Those are at least as important, perhaps more so, than the worship I’m addressing here. I find, though, that most of us are better at the obedience and service than we are at sitting at the feet of Jesus. It’s easy for the more personal and intimate type of worship to be neglected sometimes. Most of us are much more like Martha than Mary. But Jesus told Mary that Martha had chosen “what is better.” (Luke 10:42) Sitting at the feet of Jesus in adoration and love is what I’m addressing in this blog and in a series of blogs that will follow in the coming month.

This kind of worship has transformed me into a child of God, instead of being an adult of God. It has allowed me to experience awe and wonder as I gaze at His beauty. It has also allowed me to shed much of my self-consciousness as I began to understand the great, great, unconditional love God has for me. Caring too much about what others think is a form of bondage that keeps us from responding to God and from enjoying life. In worship I’ve experienced and come to understand more about how very much God loves me, and as a result I have become much more obedient and I enjoy life a whole lot more.

Worship has trained me to run to Him for comfort and protection in a way I never did before, because He holds my heart. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21) It wasn’t obedience or serving Him that enabled me to give Him my heart, it was sitting at His feet in worship. Obedience and service caused faith, trust and character to grow in me. Sitting at His feet developed love.

So I am excited about writing this series of blogs about worship. I can truly say that worship has transformed my life and that the deeper I go in worship or the higher priority I make it in my life, the more the Lord is able to change me into the image of Christ. It’s my prayer that through these blogs, you will be inspired to pursue worship to a greater degree.

I am not Unique!
As I’ve studied worship over the past few years, nearly every book I’ve read validates my experience. They all say that worship transforms the worshipper, enabling him or her to accomplish the things God has for them. Tozer put it this way:

“The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must be done for God.”
          A.W. Tozer

William Temple, the archbishop of Canterbury from 1942 to 1944 provided a rather long but excellent definition of worship. It explains how worship transforms the worshipper:

“Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same; sincere and spiritual worship. For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is:

          the quickening of our conscience ………………………. by His holiness;
          the nourishment of mind ………………………………….. with His truth;
          the purifying of imagination ……………………………… by His beauty;
          the opening of the heart ………………………………….. to His love;
          the surrender of will ……………………………………….. to His purpose

– and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. Yes – worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin.”
          William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1942-1944

Can one help but be transformed by worship, when it has the potential for all these things? If you want to grow in holiness, truth, love, service, and your capacity to enjoy the wonder of God, there can be only one remedy – spend more time in personal, private worship. Just you and God. Alone. Together. It will start a transformation process that can only lead to good things!

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