(Originally written, August, 2007)
“Worship As Obedience”
At the heart of the matter, worship is really about telling God that we love Him. Last month, we said that worship was defined as our response to that thing that we value the most. Therefore, if we love God and want to show him such, the best way we can do so is to worship. Jesus stated, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (John 14:23). Our obedience to God is a manifestation of that love for him and, in this sense, obedience = worship.
Think for just a moment about the Gospel of Matthew. If I were to ask you about the last conversation Jesus had with his disciples, would you know what it was about? I sure hope so since this directly relates to our obedience to God’s commands. Matthew records,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
As part of the Church, our task is to make disciples as we go through life. This verse is not about going on a mission trip to some far off place and being a witness for God (although that is commanded elsewhere). Rather, this verse could be translated, “As you go, make disciples…”. It is about being on board with God’s mission for the world as we go through our everyday lives.
Maybe Eugene Peterson captures this idea best in his paraphrase of the words of the Apostle Paul: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing that you can do for him” (Romans 12:1-2). Maybe embracing who God has made us to be and allowing God to use that person to share his love with the world is the very best act of worship that we could ever perform.
Our job is not just to take the Gospel of hope and salvation and freedom and peace and goodness and life, and hide it in our pocket like a secret treasure. No, the love of God is the only thing in the world that you get more of as you give more away.
Our willingness to share the gospel (i.e. to be on mission with God in our everyday lives) is directly connected to our obedience to God’s command. Our daily worship is also directly connected to this willingness to be a witness. Worship is about obedience and obedience to the call of God means that we have a responsibility to be a witness in every aspect of our lives.
My prayer is that you embrace the person God has made you to be and that we may go out into a world starving for authenticity to be true to the faith that we profess. I pray that we will stop playing the game of phoniness and will decide to be obedient to the call of Christ, living our lives as a bold witness to the love of God in Jesus. May you receive the blessing of worshipping “in spirit and in truth” as you live in obedience to the Master.