During the worship time on Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago I stopped and thought about the words we were singing. I had just proclaimed that I had ’10,000 reasons for my heart to find’, talking about reasons to worship God. In that moment I felt God speak clearly to me about worship in general and specifically to me about being a worshipper. It was a challenge that really got me thinking, it’s funny when God does that!
It’s not something that I often think about, but as people, we actually have to choose to worship, we don’t just enter a church service or prayer meeting and start worshipping automatically, it is something we need to make the conscious decision to do. But what exactly is worship?
When we worship God what we are actually choosing to do is ‘magnify’ God. We take a closer look at His characteristics or the things he has done. All of the things we sing about are still true, but we just choose to focus in on them. Let me give you an example, when we sing ‘God is faithful’ what we are actually choosing to do is focus in on his faithfulness, God is still faithful whether or not we sing about it but magnifying this characteristic of God allows us to worship him for that and be thankful for it.
That is where attitude comes into it; we need to choose to magnify God during worship and we need to choose to actively engage with God. We aren’t just singing songs, we are choosing to recognise God’s character.
This got me thinking about the bigger picture, do we worship God enough? If we think about God’s character; he is loving, he is faithful, he is slow to anger, he is the bringer of joy, the list goes on, if that isn’t enough to get you excited what is! But if we go one step further and think about what God has done for us, it gives us even more reason to worship. He has adopted us, he has brought us freedom, he provides for us, and again the list goes on. If we go through each of the areas of our life, we suddenly realise that there are a lot more than 10,000 things to praise God for!
In Psalm 34 David talks about how he continually praises God in all things ‘I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips’. I’m often challenged by my wife on this. Anyone who knows Hayley will know that she is a worshipper! Worship is the soundtrack to her life, when she is in the car, when she is cooking, when she washes up, when she gets ready to go out, even when she irons (you have probably seen the video), she always has worship music playing, singing at the top of her voice. She really embraces what David is saying here about his praise being constantly on our lips. Thanking God at all times, focussing on His character and enjoying praising Him for that.
In the last couple of weeks I have tried this, I’ve made the effort to worship God more during my day. I’ve taken time to list some of the things I’m thankful for and it has been really refreshing. What I have found is that when we focus on God first, He speaks more clearly. I’ve heard from God more in the last couple of weeks than at any time I can remember, and I really believe that the reason for that is that I have been focussing on being thankful to God, worshipping him above all else, including above any of my requests or any of my situations.
As we move into an exciting time as a church, hearing about Alpha flourishing, the build-up to our Christmas event, the Gift Days coming up I want to encourage you to take on this new approach to worship. Thank God first before seeking him, focus on his character first, spend some time enjoying God and I’m pretty sure you will hear from Him. It is no surprise that we start each of our church prayer meetings with a time of worship, we thank God first before we get on to anything else.
So that is my challenge this month, make the conscious decision to worship God, you will find that you quickly identify 10,000 reasons to be thankful.
As I think about 2018, one of my prayers is that we continue to be a people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who draw ever closer to God through reading, understanding and putting into practice all He has revealed to us in the Bible.
It’s usually this time of year when people reflect on the past year, their successes and challenges, and everything else that comes with them. However, this article is not going to be that.