What Is Worship Not?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Praise God, Part 1

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Worship is when believers sing together, right? Chuck McKnight, AiG–U.S., explains why it is a mistake to view worship like this.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Romans 12:1, NASB)

Today’s big question: what is worship not?

I distinctly remember a Sunday morning service several years ago. We watched a presentation about a summer Bible camp in which several members of the congregation had participated. The screen displayed pictures of various camp activities while “praise music” played in the background, and a narrator provided commentary throughout. Eventually, we reached a part about the music program of the camp. Pictures depicted a band on stage, leading the campers in a series of “worship songs.” At this point the narrator made a very interesting statement. He said it was so amazing to see the children’s reactions because “most of them had never experienced worship before.”

This statement is representative of the view held by many Christians today about worship. We have the idea that worship is equivalent to congregational singing. In many churches this time of singing is even called the “worship service” as directed by the “worship leader” and possibly a “worship team.” We gather to “praise God” on Sunday mornings and then go about our “normal lives” for the rest of the week.

This division is entirely unbiblical. This is not true worship.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not at all claiming that worship cannot take place during congregational singing or at a concert—certainly, it should! But there is so much more to worshiping God.

As we begin a new series of devotionals on what it means to praise God, I first want to rid you of the idea that worship is synonymous with singing. Music is just one fraction of our lives—the entireties of which are to be devoted to bringing God glory.

The Bible commands us, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are told to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:15–16, ESV).

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Our whole lives should therefore be dedicated as a living sacrifice of worship to Him (Romans 12:1). We do this, not as a means of atoning for our sins—He has already done that (1 John 4:10; Hebrews 10:12)—but rather out of a heart of praise and thanksgiving to God because of what He has done for us (2 Corinthians 4:15).

Today’s big idea: worship is much more than just singing on Sunday mornings.

What to pray: ask God to make your whole life a living sacrifice of worship to Him.


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