Worship from the Heart

group of people raising hands silhouette photography
Photo by Chad Kirchoff on

We are created to worship. Worship means to attribute value to a person or thing. To worship God is to express high value to Him. Worshiping God is much more than just a Sunday morning experience. While weekly church attendance is a good habit that has spiritual, social, and emotional benefits , our worship of God must be something we do on an ongoing basis. In one sense, all that we do to honor God is an expression of worship. Just as we are to grow in prayer, we are to grow in the area of how and why we worship God. This makes the worship experience more meaningful . For God does not accept any kind of worship. Jesus made this clear in a conversation that he had with a Samaritan woman in the book of John chapter four, verse twenty-four, “ God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit in truth.”

True worship of God begins with the condition of the heart. If our heart is not in it, then any outward expression becomes an act of vanity. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had this problem. He described them in Matthew’s gospel when he said “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain…”( Mt. 15:8) It becomes very easy to go through the motions of worship ,without doing it from the heart, if it is something we do only on Sunday. Also in public worship a person can be easily distracted by the people around him or her, if there has not been regular expressions of private worship. When we are just starting out as new Christians, it is very important that we nurture and develop in our private lives such disciplines as : prayer, scripture reading, praise , and adoration of God. In doing this , worship becomes more natural to us when we find ourselves in a public space.

In addition to what I have stated above, the Bible teaches us many other things about worship. First of all, worship should be exclusively directed to God. When you consider the definition of worship as attributing value to something or someone, there can be an unlimited number of objects or persons toward which we might extend our love and devotion. For instance, it is possible to worship another human being. We see this kind of adulation given to celebrities in the entertainment industry all the time. This same kind of human idolatry can and does exist within the church. For example, when a preacher is put on a pedestal it places that person in a position to receive the kind of adoration that should be only given to God. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the devil tried to entice Jesus to bow down and worship him. Jesus’ response is important for those of us who seek to worship in the right way: “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you ,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, away from me, Satan! For it is written: worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only .”(Mt. 4:8-10)

Secondly, as stated earlier, worship should come from the heart, but it should involve the whole person in how it is expressed. At the heart of true biblical worship is a life of obedience and service. Jesus said in John 14:15 “ if you love me, you will obey what I command.” So that if I truly love and worship God, it will be demonstrated not only in how I express myself in public service, but also in how I live my life each day in honoring God and serving others.One does not have to read the Psalms very long to see that worship of God can and should be demonstrative. When David describes his worship experience of God he unashamedly expresses his love , “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalm 63:2-4) This man looks up to God with his eyes, he praises God with his lips, and he raises his hands before the Lord…as an expression of honor and adoration. So as we grow in your relationship with God, we learn to worship Him sincerely and without reservation. Before we worry about whether or not we have all the right outward moves, we should make sure we start with the right heart, and then commit to giving our best praise and worship to God in the privacy of our lives. This kind of commitment and consistency in private worship will equip us and give us confidence to offer worship to God publically in a more natural way.

Finally, remember that human beings were created to offer worship to God. We are doing what we were created to do on earth ,and what we will be doing in Heaven forever (Revelation 4:8-11). To learn to worship and grow as a worshiper is simply doing what is a part of our destiny to do. Worship helps us get our relationship right with God. And when our relationship with God is what it should be, then our relationship with others can be what it is suppose to be as well.




Keys to Spiritual Success

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Priority of Prayer

Every Christian needs to have as his or her goal to– develop and maintain a healthy prayer life. A strong prayer life is essential in our journey toward spiritual maturity. Prayer has been defined as a process of communicating with God. When we communicate with another person, we talk and listen to them. We also spend time in their presence. Our communication can become as intimate and as passionate as we desire it to be. The more we invest in good communication, the better our relationships will be. This is true in our relationships with the people in our lives. It is also true in our relationship with God.
We should commit to a regular habit of praying. Jesus is our model in how we should keep prayer as a priority in our lives. The Scripture says , “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16). If Jesus needed to make it a regular habit to pray, how much more do we need to find time to make this a consistent practice in our lives. A lack of communication continues to be one of the top reasons why people get divorced. When communication between two people is cut off, it often results in the death of a marriage. Likewise, when we fail to communicate with our Heavenly father on a regular basis, our relationship and fellowship with Him suffers, and our spiritual progress is limited.
Another important thing about prayer to remember ,especially in the early stages of our Christian experience , is that we need to be committed to growing in this area. While the basic idea of prayer comes natural, prayer as a spiritual discipline requires that we become a student of prayer, and learn all we can about the subject so that our prayers can be more effective. As Jesus’ disciples observed his prayer life, they requested of him that he teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). They wanted to learn to how pray better. As new and growing Christians, we will need to learn how to pray better. This will involve learning how to incorporate in our prayers the principles found in the “Lord’s Prayer.” (Mt. 6:9-13) Learning how to pray also means engaging in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). Another important truth about prayer is that when we learn how to abide in Christ we will see results that come in direct response to our specific requests (John 15:7-8).

A light bulb comes on when it is charged with a current of electricity. Without the electricity there will be no light. Prayer in the life of a believer is what electricity is to a light bulb. If we want power to energize our lives and do the things that reflect Christ-like living, it is essential to turn on the power source through prayer. Prayer is so important to the Christian life that Jesus made a point of emphasizing that we should always pray and never give up. He does this by telling a story of a desperate widow in Luke 18:2-5, “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming.” The point of the parable is that, despite the resistance of the judge, this widow was persistent in her plea for help. And just like this widow, though God is not resistant to us ,we are to pray to God persistently without giving up.

E. Trice

Keys to Spiritual Growth



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Feasting on the Word

As a follower of Christ, I have discovered seven keys to ensure spiritual growth and vitality. These are basic and can benefit anyone, of any faith persuasion, but  especially applies to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The first key is Bible study.Bible study is to the spiritual life what bread or food is to the physical life. If we do not eat an adequate amount of food on a daily basis our body becomes weak and unproductive. Most of us have seen pictures of starving children on the television, whose arms and legs are nothing but skin and bones with bloated stomachs, due to  a lack of proper nutrition. These helpless children are but a physical illustration of what many people are like in an anemic spiritual condition. A lack of regular consumption of God’s word leaves us powerless, empty, and ineffective . This weakened spiritual state is in stark contrast to the strong, vibrant, and robust life that Jesus came to give those who follow him. (John 10:10) One biblical reference that points to the importance of the Word of God in our lives is found in Matthew’s gospel, chapter four. In this passage Jesus is in the wilderness where he is being tempted by the devil. He was very hungry after having fasted for forty days and forty nights.The very first temptation that the devil brought to him had to do with food. While turning Jesus’ attention to some stones that were near by, Satan said “ If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus’ response showed the importance of providing proper nourishment to both the body and the soul. He said “ It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” So “every word” informs us that we must have a regular intake of the Bible. This type of nourishment comes only through consistent study, reading, meditation,and obedience to God’s Word.
The Bible also makes claims about itself that no other book does. For instance, it is a living book (Hebrews 4:12); it is eternal(1Peter 1:24-25); it revives the soul(Psalm 19:7); and it equips and matures us in the faith (2Timothy 3:16-17). Because of these and other unique characteristics of the Scriptures, it is easy for me to declare without hesitation, that the bible is the most important book that you and I have in our possession. It should therefore be taken even more seriously than the three meals you and I eat each day to keep our physical bodies strong and healthy.The Bible should be read each day. A good plan is to set a goal to read it all the way through, or listen to an audio recording,  each year. Read it from Genesis to Revelation, or read the New Testament and then the Old Testament. Read it in different translations, such as, the King James Version (KJV) or the New International Version (NIV).There are several good modern English translations that can help in understanding the Bible in today’s language. It is also helpful to our spiritual development to memorize parts of the Bible. With the way it is designed today, with its books,chapters,and verses divided and punctuated, it is a lot easier to commit many passages to memory. The importance of memorizing scripture is reflected in David’s words in the Psalms when he says “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you…”(Psalm 119:11) Scripture memorization is one of the best ways to “hide” God’s word in your heart.
Meditation on God’s word is another good way to strengthen your faith and build spiritual muscles. There is a lot of talk today about the importance of meditation. To meditate on the word of God is to think about it, to allow your mind to dwell on it, and to ask mental questions about its meaning and how it applies to specific areas of your life. To meditate is to avoid a quick reading ,or brushing over truths in the Bible without giving them much thought. According to Psalm 1:2, a spiritually successful person “meditates on the word day and night.” Finally, a genuine Bible study program must incorporate a commitment to obey what it teaches. To read the Bible without living out what has been read, will result in having knowledge that will not benefit your life in a practical way. We are not to be hearers of the word without being doers of the word. The Apostle James, who many scholars believe was the half-brother of Jesus,warned those who fail to recognize the importance of putting the teaching of scripture into practice when he said “ do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22).” We should always study the Bible with the intent of discovering how we can apply it to our lives.When we live out the Word, it makes us better people, and enables us to influence our family, neighbors and society in the best possible way. Applying God’s word is the only way to digest it into our spiritual system so that true growth can take place.

                                                                                                    E. Trice