I am a worship leader at church. Basically, what that means is that I lead the congregation in worship via music. What I have realized more than ever recently is that worship doesn't equal music and music doesn't equal worship. Music can be a form of worship to God, but it can just as likely not. And it's not just a matter of the state of our heart. I have been so aware lately of the words I use when worshipping Him. I think sometimes we think as long as we're singing something that sounds good to us, we're worshipping Him.
I wrote all that just to say--we were made to worship God, but much of the time, we worship him the way we want to worship Him and not necessarily the way He wants to be worshipped.
Worship is so much more than what we sing; it's how we live our lives.
Let me tell you a funny (or not so funny) story. So, we can honor God by giving financially, right? Well, before Michael left his job last month, his hours had been cut way down, so we didn't have much extra money. Well, I decided one month that as part of our giving, I would buy two huge packs of hot dog wieners for the church picnic. (Ok, go ahead and laugh while i cower down and blush) God later gently showed me that yes, that was nice, but it was not exactly His definition of giving. Also, slightly amusing (but not really) was the fact that God's original law forbade eating pork (and I'm sure also all the mixed nasty stuff that is in hot dogs). If you think about it, God gave the Israelites that law for their own good, considering that pigs are not the cleanest animals in the world and He was trying to keep them alive and healthy in the middle of the desert.
We like to take things and say, "Hey, God, I know You don't particularly like this, but I'm going to take it and turn it into worship towards You. You're going to bless it, right? You know I have good intentions." And He says, "Um, I'm not going to bless it when I know that You know better." It's not always just the thought that counts.
Oh, by the way, while I was writing this, God stepped ALL over my toes by showing me something that I do that is exactly like the above paragraph. *sigh* Our bodies are supposed to be temples of the Holy Spirit, but more often than I care to admit, I sit in front of a plateful of food that is terrible for me, whether I were to eat it in moderation or not. I bow my head and say, "God, bless this food to the nourishment of my body" and the whole time, in the back of my mind I'm thinking, 'I know this is bad for my body.'
If we're going to worship Him, we should worship Him the way He tells us to. We have to read His Word to find out how. Otherwise, we might be worshipping Him wrong and never know it. We have to put effort into this relationship.
And while worshipping God isn't just about our good intentions, it's not just about our outward acts, either. If we're doing the things God wants to do, but doing them out of obligation or pride, or anything but a pure heart, it's not really worship. I want to worship Him with my whole being!
Praise God for His mercy and grace, but also for the strength and wisdom to live our lives and to worship Him in the way He desires!