One of the things the Lord loves the most is showing His power, love, mercy, grace and favor to His people. The Lord made mankind so He could lavish love. (See Isaiah 30:18) He made humanity so that He could have relationship with us, community, friendship. While sin changed all of that, separating sinful humankind from holy God, He didn’t let that stop Him! No! He came down through Jesus Christ and changed it back, hallelujah! The only thing the Lord has ever asked for in return for all He has done? Thanksgiving -as expressed in worship. (See Psalm 50:8-15) Being thankful to God for His blessings is the essence of worship – the outward expression of your inward condition is encompassed and expressed in your praise.
Even so, in spite of a deep desire to draw closer to the Lord in worship, many struggle to express praise and worship or get caught up in perfecting it, or defining it just right when the Lord really just wants you to express your heartfelt thanksgiving to Him through the “sacrifice of praise” which is your physical expression of worship. (See Romans 12:1) Even though praise and worship have their own specific actions and Scriptures, it really all boils down to one thing that the Lord asked for: Gratitude.
If You’re Thankful to God for His Blessings, Say So!
Think of it this way: Love, without a physical, outward expression is incomplete. Love is an action, not a feeling. You can love someone all you want on the inside, but without expressing that love outwardly, what good is it to the person you say you love? Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story– those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.” That’s you! Praise and worship are the same way. Worship without a physical, outward expression is incomplete. Yes, God knows your heart, but your outward expression of being thankful to the Lord for His blessings, the miracles, the love, the salvation He has accomplished is shown to Him through actions like singing, clapping, dancing, kneeling and raising your hands is what makes your praise a completed act of gratitude. What’s holding you back? Ponder this. You say you want more of Him, but desires more of you.
Giving thanks to the Lord for His blessings and expressing that worship in the ways He has said He desires are, really, the only thing you have to give back to Him. There’s nothing we could ever do that could equal what He has done- and He knows that. But He did ask for something in return: Worship. When the Lord brings His presence to you, there is power! But worship – ministry to Him – brings you into His presence, a more powerfully intimate spiritual connection than anything else. Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord creates a dwelling place within the spontaneous, spirit-led praise of His people, called “tehillah” – a form of praise that rises to the Lord from your own spirit. (Read more about “tehillah” in book, The Way of the Worshipper) If you really believe that God dwells within your praise- what is holding you back?
Thought for today: Unrestrained Thankfulness Sets You Free
At one time or another, all of us make excuses for why we don’t express ourselves in worship. Maybe it’s tradition to worship a certain way, or to refrain from specific expressions of worship. Maybe people would think it strange. Maybe some would judge you or talk about you. Maybe you’re held back because you don’t want to draw attention to yourself or you think you’d look foolish or sound bad. Maybe you’re having a bad day and just don’t want to. Maybe you’re struggling in your faith or your trust for the Lord. Maybe you don’t see the point. Maybe you don’t have a “why”. Maybe you don’t understand what the Bible says about praising the Lord. Maybe you have horrible memories from the past about church or Christians or worship itself. Whatever the case may be, we all hold ourselves back at some point, but I want to challenge you: If you really believe He is worthy of submitting to as Lord; if you really believe He hears you and is with you; if you really think He shed His blood and died on the cross for you; if you really believe in His sacrifice – then He must be worthy enough to receive your sacrifice in return! <3