Thanksgiving is the origin point for all worship. In fact, without gratitude, your heart will not connect with the Lord in worship because worship is, first and foremost, a heart condition. In Psalm 50:23 the Lord said, “Whoever sacrifices a thank offering glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God.” Thanksgiving and praise are the physical expressions of a grateful heart.
In fact, a heart that is filled with thanks for what the Lord has done is ready to enter into His presence because praise is what paves the way into His courts. (Psalm 100:4)
After all He has done and is doing and will do for you, there is nothing you could ever do in return except for praise Him! And that is all He desires. Obedience and submission and following His Word, seeking His will and spreading the Gospel are all part of our sanctification, but praise and worship are purely intimate connection, spirit to Spirit. That is what He really wants, you!
Thanksgiving and Worship are the Same
In Romans 21:1, Paul urges followers of Christ to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” Because God the Father sent His Son as a sacrifice, He understands the power of a living sacrifice. He understands, truly, what it costs you and what it feels like. He understands that a sacrifice hurts, and that a sacrifice means you’re giving up something you want or care about, and that a sacrifice means the death of something that doesn’t want to die.
The “living sacrifice” is you- how you expressing your thanksgiving. Yes, worship starts in the heart, but if you’re going to be a living sacrifice, your praise cannot remain trapped in your heart! Just like love is not complete with out an outward expression, praise is the same way- the Lord is a Person and you can express your love and gratitude to Him through thanksgiving.
It’s not always easy to “present your body” in praise and worship – clapping, raising your hands, singing or even kneeling or dancing- but the expression of your body is part of the fullness of praise. And if it’s a “sacrifice of praise” – you’re going to be challenged in some areas as you wrestle against the flesh and how it “feels” versus praising the Lord in faith.
Just like love is not complete with out an outward expression, praise is the same way- the Lord is a Person and you can express your love and gratitude to Him through thanksgiving.~Alicia Purdy
If you struggle to feel connected to the Lord in worship, start by fixing your mind on what He has done for you- begin to speak gratitude to the Lord for what Jesus went through to procure your eternal salvation. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you, to inspire you with thoughts and reminders of what He has done.
From there, begin to stir your spirit from a perspective of thankfulness and continue to recall what He has done in your life and express that through singing, or raising your hands to Him. This is not a Sunday morning activity, but an every day one!
Thought for today: Press Through to Praise
The enemy will try and come against you, to try and block your praise efforts or redirect them! He knows that praise is the primary way your spirit will stay connected to the Spirit of God. Satan knows that “in His presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11) and Satan knows that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10) This is why you must double down in worship that begins with gratitude to the Lord.
Thank Him for each thing that comes to mind as you worship, lift your hands, sing, kneel down. This is even more important for us when we do not feel like it. Worshipping when you do not want to is, essentially, the foundation of a sacrifice- and we all must do this at different levels each time we draw near to worship Him. A sacrifice of thanksgiving is what makes our Father feel truly honored- He said that Himself. As followers of Christ, that is your primary goal to daily renew your covenant with God in worship, which is: Ministry to the Lord.
Hebrews 13:15 says, “By Him [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” Let yourself be inspired by what Jesus has done. Start with remembering the “joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12) and give thanks to Him for that.
Even doing just that every day will change your whole life! As complex, multi-faceted, mysterious and powerful as God is, He asks for only one thing in return from us: worship.
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