Worship is likely one of the most overused yet misunderstood terms in the modern Christian movement. The word in its original form is proskyneō, which means “to bow down” or “to prostrate oneself.” In our Christian culture, we often hear this term associated with going to church, music, singing, or even a particular genre of music; however, the Bible offers a much broader definition and one that is certainly far more involved in our lives than just singing or going to a church service.
One of the best definitions of worship in the Bible is found in the book of Romans when the Apostle Paul writes, “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 ESV). While worship can and certainly should involve music and instruments and singing, worship is clearly far more than just those things. When you worship, you show honor to God with your life, which includes your body, your mind, your will, and your emotions.
Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” So the things that you do become a part of how you worship God; the thoughts that you think become a part of how you worship God; the things that you want become a part of how you worship God; and even the feelings that you feel become a part of how you worship God. Your spiritual service of worship involves your body, mind, will, and emotions all being subjected to God’s authority so that they each come into alignment with His plan and desire for you.
When I was growing up, I heard it said that “worship is a lifestyle.” This catch phrase was quoted so often that it did not carry much significance for me because I never took the time to really grasp what it meant or involved. But as I have grown older and developed in my relationship with God, I have gained a better understanding of what it means for worship to be a lifestyle. While the catch-phrase can be cliché, it really does capture the essence of being a “living” sacrifice. The style, or manner, in which you live your life is your act of worship.
When my response to difficulties and challenges honors God, it becomes worship. When my response to rejection and hurt honors God, it becomes worship. When I have a bad day, my response becomes worship when it honors God. Likewise, when I’m on top of the world and I don’t have a problem in the world, my response is still an attitude of worship to God when it honors Him. This lifestyle of worship is wholistic, all-encompassing, and far more meaningful than simply singing; but singing to Him will come very naturally and flow from your heart out of a life that is lived in worship to God.