The word “worship” makes many people think of an act reserved for those who are religious. Yet we forget that God created everyone for worship—to worship Him—so it is hard-wired into our spiritual DNA as much as our bodies’ need for food and water. If we decide not to worship God, we will worship something or someone else. The word means “to give worth to” and is the full expression of adoration, respect, and awe toward a person or object.
Some of the greatest demonstrations of worship in our world are found not in churches but at concerts, sports arenas, or film premieres, where people shower adoration on their favorite athletes and celebrities. Nothing is held back; there are screams of delight and all-consuming passion.
Sadly, church worship can be far less enthusiastic when we approach it as merely a religious obligation. We can easily get distracted by the kind of music we are singing, or how people around us are worshipping. We can forget there is Someone on the receiving end.
Jesus once had a discussion with a Samaritan woman, who, like many in her day, wondered about the place of worship—the subject of a religious argument with the Jews about proper etiquette. Jesus redirected her focus: “An hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father . . . an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-24). Jesus reminds her that nothing is more important than the object of our worship.
Our heavenly Father seeks our adoration, and unlike the celebrities of our day, He is fully deserving. Worship is our personal response to what God has done in our past as well as our present, and it is the only appropriate response to who God is: our righteous and holy Creator, our Sustainer, and the Lover and Savior of our souls. No celebrity can compete with His glory—no object or desire is as wonderful or perfect as He.
As C. S. Lewis writes in Reflections on the Psalms, “In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”