"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations."
A lovely and poignant hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth,” was created out of writer Folliott PIerpoint’s deep sense of awe at God’s creation. Have you ever been in a similar situation, out in nature and in amazement at the beauty of God’s creation? Or maybe you’ve experienced the love of a friend or family member and felt a brief reminder of God’s goodness. Or perhaps you’ve eaten a delicious meal and exclaimed in praise. What a joy it is to know that we can express our worship to God so freely! Did you know that worship is both an internal response and an outward, physical action? Some of the biblical words used for acts of worship mean “to prostrate,” “to kneel,” and to “extend the hand” (Psalm 99:5, Daniel 6:10, Ezra 9:5). Throughout Scripture, especially the Psalms, we see worshippers bowing down, playing loud instruments, dancing, clapping, and even leaping before the Lord in worship.
Worship as a Way of Life
In our individual lives, we worship Him in the way we think, the words we speak, and the actions we take. We worship God in our thought lives by focusing on truths about His character, maybe taken from books we have read or favorite passages of Scripture. When we drive to work and turn off the radio to thank God for all He has done for us—that is worship. When we interact with others and point them to Jesus—that is an act of worship. When we've just closed our eyes to go to sleep and whisper a prayer telling God we love Him—that is worship.
Worship is often expressed individually. But it’s also something experienced in community. One of the most sacred expressions of worship is when we gather together as the body of Christ. In that time and place, we enter God’s presence together. We lift our voices in unison. We hear God’s voice as He speaks to us through His people and His Word. We experience “deep inward fellowship in the power of the Spirit.”
And it is here, in corporate worship, that we gain a glimpse of what is taking place in heaven right now. In John’s revelation of the throne room of God, he describes the scene like this:
"Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.'” (Revelation 4:9–11)
What a powerful reminder this is that worship is an eternal spiritual discipline! When we live in the way God designed us to live, we find freedom and joy. That is the way we enjoy Jesus—both now and eternally.