What changes me, inside out?

I sat down at the piano in the church sanctuary yesterday and played for a few moments – worshipfully! In that overflow of praise, my prayers for the day were grounded, my faith strengthened. In these chaotic and difficult days, I often choose to offer my worship to the One who is greater than all these ‘light and momentary’ troubles.  The best prayer begins with worship. Do you realize that?  We do not ‘bribe’ our God with our words of adoration! Worship as a foundation of true prayer, changes us. 

Paul and Silas were doing wonderful things for Jesus when they were falsely charged and cruelly beaten. After this injustice, they were locked in an inner, dark cell of the jail in Philippi. Through their tears, they lifted their hearts together in worship. Luke tells us that  “Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.” (Acts 16:25, NLT)

Let that sink in. They were not crying and begging God for release. They were worshipping Him with songs.  The story goes on to tell us that the Lord sent an earthquake, shook the foundations of the prison, and their chains fell off.  Later that night when their jailer saw their great faith he trusted in Christ Jesus and a church was planted in that city that night. It grew out of a sacrifice of praise.  Worship changes circumstances. 

Being human I know that we will be tempted to make a formula out of the story that goes something like this: “In tough times, sing three meaningful worship songs and wait for the miracle.”

No, that’s not the point of the passage.  Insincere praise, words of worship that are not heart-deep, are an affront to God. True worship begins with the humility to give up our demand for an outcome and then to radically trust God to hold us in His hands, come what may!

Worship may change our situation but it will always change us. 

N.T. Wright says that “You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.”   If we desire Christlikeness in ourselves, we will learn to yield ourselves to God, to bow in worship!  Do you want to be changed? Then, become a person who lives worshipfully.

God has always asked worship of His creation.
In the 10 Commandments, He says that there are to be no other gods, no idols, in our lives.  He owns our worship exclusively.
He wants more than the songs we sing on Sunday!
At the heart of all worship is this – an act, a word, a song, an attitude that assigns worth to the Lord
We can worship by caring for His Creation.
We can worship by loving those He loves.
We can worship by writing a poem. 
We worship when we pray in faith, when we give our time and money to causes of His kingdom. 
We can worship by coming to Him to wait, wordlessly, in His Presence.

Worship is putting Him first, before all other persons, things, or possessions.  Worship is both an act of faith and a response of our heart.   Sometimes worship is a ready response much like that moment when we are moved by a great performance and join the audience in a standing ovation.  In those moments, we are so touched we readily praise Him!  And, more often, there are moments, like that night in the Philippian jail, when we worship Him out of obedience – a choice more than a response.

Worship pleases God.  Thus, all of evil will conspire to keep us from it. The devil is content to keep us pre-occupied with work, or obsessing about our appearance, or frantic to make things work. In those moments, when God is dethroned, we are standing before idols. IF we will turn, by faith, to say, “You are God, I am not,” in that humility there is worship.  There is a promise that Jesus made about those worshipful moments:  that if we “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, (giving worth to God) … all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

Will you worship? 

Engage your mind and heart.
Borrow a Psalm, sing a song. 
Quietly adore Him.
Write a prayer of thanksgiving. 
Pour out your concerns. 
These are acts of worship.

The word from the Word says –
“Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”
(Psalm 29:1-2, NIV)

What A Beautiful Name

You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus You brought heaven down
My sin was great Your love was greater
What could separate us now

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Ben Fielding | Brooke Ligertwood

© 2016 Hillsong Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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