Seeking God Through Worship
"Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!" Psalm 132:7
Worship through song is one of the most powerful ways to connect directly to the love, compassion, power, and grace of God. In worship, walls we’ve placed between God and us get torn down, just as God tore the veil at the death of Christ. In worship, our hearts become soft, aware, and open to the glorious majesties of God’s nearness. In worship, God makes his nearness known to us and fills us anew with the power of his manifest presence.
The Psalms are filled with exhortations to worship. Psalm 95:1-3 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” We are created to worship our Creator. When we give glory to God, we place him on the throne of our hearts and posture ourselves in the only position in which we will find peace: one of submission and humility. In the act of worship, we lay down everything we’ve allowed to matter more than God’s perfect will for us and receive the grace to love him above all else.
Psalm 132:7 says, “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!” When we worship, we enter into direct contact with our all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing heavenly Father. God’s desire in worship is to draw us near to himself, fill us to overflow with his love, and wait patiently for us to love him in return. The more often we receive his love through worship, the more consistently we will love and honor him in all we do. I fear that many Christians engage in worship because they feel they should or are allotted a time in church to do so, but all the while never really desire to worship God. God is not a prideful King who demands inauthentic praise from his people. He is in no way insecure or needy. He is simply after true communion with you where he loves you and you love him in return. And he will keep loving you, speaking to you, and reminding you of his desire for you until you open your heart and realize that loving him is the most satisfying, fulfilling, and purposeful way to live.
My favorite way to engage in worship, either in my personal devotional time or in a corporate gathering, is to begin by opening my heart and asking the Holy Spirit to help me receive God’s affection for me. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” I forget too easily how deeply God loves me. As I go throughout my week, the cares of the world seem to creep in and rob me of a full understanding of the depths of God’s love. So, I continually need reminders of his love that I may live my life in response to him rather than singing just because I should. Before you engage in worship, take a minute or two to reflect on God’s love. Read a Psalm or a part of the gospel that will remind you of how much God loves you. Ask God to speak to you and pour his love out on you. It isn’t selfish to ask God to love you. He knows that we are in desperate need of his love, and he fully understands that we cannot love him without receiving his love first.
Richard J. Foster says it this way in his book, Celebration of Discipline:
Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. Its central reality is found “in Spirit and in Truth.” It is kindled within us only when then the Spirit of God touches our human Spirit. Forms and rituals do not produce worship, nor does the formal disuse of forms and rituals. We can use all the right techniques and methods, we can have the best possible liturgy but we have not worshiped the Lord until Spirit touches Spirit. Singing, praying, praising, all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them. Our Spirit must be ignited by divine fire.
Whether or not you have encountered the miracle of God’s presence in worship up to this day, God wants to draw you into a fresh and needed experience of his nearness right now. He wants to pour out his love on every dry and weary place of your heart. Take time in prayer to receive his love, allow his Spirit to touch your spirit, and respond to him with adoration.
1. Meditate on the depths of God’s love for you.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into a direct encounter with God. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit and allow him to fill you with a knowledge of God’s love and nearness. Wait on him and allow his Spirit to touch your spirit.
3. Respond to God’s love with your own. Thank him for what he has done for you. Go through all the good things in your life, and give him adoration for them! Love him in whatever way you desire. If you’re unsure of what to do, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with a specific way to love God.
Richard Foster also wrote, “As worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. Holy obedience saves worship from becoming an opiate, an escape from the pressing needs of modern life.” Live today following the guidance of God’s Spirit and his word. Respond to his love with your own loving obedience. May you discover the wealth of abundant life available to you through receiving God’s love and loving him in return through the gift of worship.
Extended Reading: 1 Corinthians 13
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