Worship: Stepping into the Spiritual Realm with Praise

Worship is powerful. It’s a tool that we have to enter the spiritual realm with praise. I know that kinda sounds like a science fiction/ superhero plot, but the reality, it’s the truth. One of the most powerful parts of our walk is worship, not because we gain something from it, but because we give praise to our creator. Many Christians like the idea of prosperity gospel, where when we enter a relationship with God, he gives us everything we desire. The problem is, this is a false belief. When we enter a relationship with Christ, the desires of things on this earth are meaningless and lead us to desire gifts over our savior. The true power of the gospel is that we have a God who died for us to set us free, so that we could come to him in relationship and spend an eternity with him. Blessings come from an outpouring of our pursuit of Christ alone. What does that have to do with worship? Well worship is often misunderstood. That’s why I like talking about worship, because I’m not a worship leader and can sing alright, worship leaders are great, but can get lost in their passions. I want to talk about what worship is and what it does, because in order to know how to worship, we have to understand God’s heart for it.

Worship is defined as an “expression of reverence and adoration,” you’ll notice that worship is not confined to song. Worship is our actions of giving honor to the one who deserves our highest praise. God is not some distant being with a watching eye, he is a creator who wishes to be in relationship with his creation. Worship gives glory to the one who gave everything to make that happen. What does worship look like then? In John 4, we see a great example of what it looks like. Verses 23-24 say, “True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father is looking for. God is spirit. His worshipers must worship him in the Spirit and in truth.” I want to focus on those two aspects of worship, spirit and truth. When we look at them, I will actually flip flop it, it helps provide context and gives us a focus to the mindset we have on worship. Let’s jump in shall we!

We need to be grounded in God’s word.

Worship is not a replacement for your relationship with God, it is the celebration of God’s truth in your life. Many people go Sunday to Sunday attending church services, but forgetting to pursue God during the other 6 days of the week. That’s not what a sustainable walk. You don’t spend a day a week with your spouse and expect the relationship to thrive; the same is true of our spiritual walk. How can we give praise without knowing the beauty of God’s promise? This month I wrote about having a strong foundation and submitting to our authority, that is the beginning of worship because that is where truth is found. Without placing our faith in that strong foundation, our worship becomes a self-centered act that is the opposite of expressing adoration. We need to make sure that our hearts are centered on the savior, so that our worship comes from a place of truth; being grounded in God’s word.

We need to be spirit minded.

Worship is not just singing on a Sunday, it is a daily expression of adoration for our king. Worship is not just a fun thing to do or experience to be had, it is being conscious of the spiritual realm we enter into each day. That verse above says, “God is spirit,” when we enter a relationship with him, we are then in a spiritual realm. I’m not talking science fiction, we have to realize that each day there is a battle for our soul. We have the desires that come from our flesh, these are what lead to sin, and if we don’t fight against it, we fall. We need to realize that an enemy is around us, trying to make us fall. Worship is a way we can enter the spiritual realm with praise, there’s a reason I titled this post like I did, our best tool against the enemy is the way we praise our king. In the book of Joshua, the story of Jericho is a well-known story. If you didn’t grow up with Veggie Tales or Sunday school, the story is of a city Joshua was called to conquer. It was a huge and almost impossible task, and God told Joshua to take the city in a very strange way. He told Joshua to have worshippers walk around the city for seven days, and the final day, walk around it seven times. At the final time, they were to blow their horns and lift up shouts. The story is powerful, because at the sound of their shouts, the walls come down. This is a great picture of the way worship allows us to enter a realm where the world is not limited to logic. Those walls shouldn’t have fallen, but because of the way the Israelites worshipped and trusted, they did.

We need to realize that worship is not about us. It’s not about our image. It’s not about who can sing loudest, raise their hands first, who can have the spirit fill them before everyone; it’s about bringing glory to the one who loved you so much, that he sent his son to die and raise again in order to save you.

Worship

I’ve been in church world for a long time, and some people have powerful encounters with the Holy Spirit in worship nights, but the truth is, the Holy Spirit is not just at a concert. I had moments at college listening to worship in my headphones walking to class, and then being able to notice a classmate who needed encouragement. I was in the spiritual mindset to notice a hurting person and a God telling me to reach out. I worship in the way I treat others, write prayers to my God in my journal, and the way I listen to the Spirit in quiet moments. I am not perfect in any way, don’t mishear me. I worship because I am not perfect. I often fall to my knees in worship; I don’t do it because I want people to notice me, I do it because I remember all the things God has done in my life and the way he is blessing me when I deserve none of it.

Right now (when this goes public), I’m in Ashville with my now wife, Danielle. There are moments where I can get low and depressed, but I thank God for the blessings in my life. For the good and the things I don’t deserve. I choose to worship God for the blessings like Danielle and his faithfulness in all things. I choose to enter the spiritual realm with praise.

-Joshua Thomas

 

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