Title: Worship And Christianity.
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The word Worship is actually defined as a show of extreme love and adoration for someone or something. Something? Yes! because it is actually possible to love things or animals to the point of worshipping them just as it is possible to worship material possessions. The common denominator is the show of extreme love. The show of extreme love means that nothing will be spared in demonstrating the love of such an object.
Because worship of someone or something is the extreme demonstration of love, it is not possible to have more than one object of worship at a time as the option chosen when there is the need to make a choice is the one that is truly and extremely loved, and indeed the object of worship. The other may be loved but is not loved sufficiently to be worshipped. The interest of the one extremely loved will always be paramount and where it is possible for the loved object to communicate, the request of the worshipped one will always be the rule and guiding principle.
As much as the word, “worship” may be loosely used in several situations, it is obvious that in truth, only one object, living or non-living can be worshipped and this remains situation until for one reason or the other, the individual chooses to switch allegiance. The test of any claim to worshipping any object is the absence of any other competing object, whose interest, the one who claims to worship is placing or will always place above the one that is being currently worshipped. No wonder Jesus Christ said it was not possible to worship the Almighty God and also worship mammon – Matt. 6:24. Worship is indeed the highest expression of love for anyone or anything. That is why the Almighty God does not just want to be loved, but to be extremely loved and worshipped at all times with all the heart, soul and mind – Exo. 20:3-11. Other objects, living or non-living will definitely be loved but He wants the position of extreme love, which is what worship is, to be reserved for Him alone.
The Almighty God desires that man worship him and him alone. This means that He will not tolerate the act of alternating worship of Himself with any other object just as He expects that all His instructions with regards to how He should be worshipped will be held paramount. It is not sufficient to just worship Him, as He must be worshipped in His own prescribed manner. He will also, occasionally test the extent of love that his creation, especially man, have for Him, by demanding for what seems to be a possible contender for His love, the granting of which he regards as a proof of the extreme love that such an individual claims to have for Him. Some of those demands may include money, time and more importantly, our lives which he does not desire dead, but alive and dedicated to Him for the upliftment and implementation of only His desires. That explains the demand he made for Abraham to sacrifice the son of his old age to Him. The willingness of Abraham to grant the request was a confirmation to Him that Abraham loved him extremely.
However, God is not asking for what He cannot do as He had always demonstrated and continues to demonstrate is extreme love for man by handing over everything He created for His honour, to man and when it became necessary to redeem man from self-inflicted destruction, He did not hold back the life of His only begotten son, to demonstrate his extreme love – Jn. 3:16. This is why many schools of thought argue that the Almighty God, it is that is worshipping man or in the least worshiped man first. He is always demonstrating extreme love for man irrespective of who gets hurt as even the angels could not negatively affect His love for man. The psalmist must have belonged to this school of thought when he wondered why God was showing so much love to man despite his lower status – Psa. 8:4-8. What other demonstration of love can be more than all these acts of His? So, He is not asking for what He cannot give but what He has already given and continues to give and all he wants is for his gesture to be reciprocated by man. God practically worships man and wants man to also worship Him.
The worship of the Almighty God by the true Christian cannot be an hourly, daily or weekly affair but one that should be done every second of the life, just as He also does for man, as day and night. He is always on the look out for the interest of man as confirmed by the psalmist – Psa. 23:1-6. Worship of God should be a way of life that determines what the true Christian does and will not do. Because of extreme love for Him, the true Christian will be expected to seek His opinion on every issue before embarking on a course of action and will be wary of being involved with any activity that will strain the relationship. That includes steering clear of all acts of transgressions of His laws and instructions. The one who claims to be the worshipper of God will make His Holy Book, a friend as that remains the only way to know what He desires in all situations and can then strive to live according to them.
Like all forms of love, extreme love for God or worship must be demonstrated and the Almighty God actually demands for such demonstration of worship. Some of His demand s is in the laws He gave to Moses (Exo. 20:3-11) and are summarised as follows:
- He does not want any object competing for the extreme love of man for Him as He desires to be worshipped exclusively – Exo. 20:3-6.
- He does not want His name to be associated with vanity of any type – Exo. 20:7. Respect for His personality must be paramount for the one that claims to worship Him.
- He desires that a day be set aside for His worship out of the seven days He has given to man – Exo. 20:8-11. According to Him, it is a day when all that is done must be to the glory of His person.
For a god that has demonstrated so much extreme love for man, requesting expression of extreme love from man in these three areas should not be too much but unfortunately man still finds it difficult to do so. Man still finds it difficult to demonstrate their worship of Him by helping Him to do all those tasks that He wants done. Tasks like taking care of the orphans, the widows, the needy and his true servants whom He has chosen to render one form of help or the other.
Starting from those who find it difficult to release a little of what He actually given to them in His demonstration of extreme love for them to those who deceitfully collect and/or even mis-manage these items that those who extremely love him have given willingly, man continues to disappoint the Almighty God with regards to worship.
The coming together of people to perform activities that glorify His person can be viewed from the perspective of these people demonstrating their extreme love or worship of Him. Time, and personality (body and soul), material resources are brought before Him in a sacrificial manner to demonstrate extreme love for Him. Sacrificial because all these materials could also have been used for other purposes but the interest of the Almighty God was giving priority as a demonstration of extreme love for Him. This act will be greatly rewarded by Him if they are done with sincerity and honesty, character traits that only He can judge. It will also be important that those who are administering all these items, time inclusive, do so with extreme love for Him so that together, the whole demonstration of love can get His recognition and approval. Not observing these guidelines may render all the acts of extreme love, that is worship, unacceptable. The implication is the absence of all the signs that should be visible in the life of the true worshipper of the Most High God, despite all the physical acts that tend to suggest that worship is been carried out.
The need for God to be worshipped as He demanded, was the initial reason Moses gave Pharaoh in asking that the Israelites be allowed to go into the desert for a three days journey. The Almighty God had demanded that He be worshipped as a prelude to their freedom from oppression and move into freedom – Exo. 7:16; 8:1; 9:1. That is what true worship brings. Complete freedom from all forms of bondages, physical and spiritual. True worship brings true worshippers into the presence of the true God, where there is complete liberty and fullness of joy – Psa. 16:11; 2Cor. 3:17.
WORSHIP is the public demonstration of love for the Most High God but there may not be a confirmation of true worship of Him until a competing situation occurs that can affect the worship of Him at specified time and in a specified manner. Unjustly denying him of worship at those times will mean that the claim of being a true worshipper all the while was not sincere. Similarly, request from Him for something and the individual finding it difficult to grant such request for His glorification due to other considerations also puts a huge question mark on all claims of worshipping Him.
When an individual drops a very important task or denies another loved object because of the extreme love he/she has for the Almighty God, the worship in such circumstances will best be regarded as true worship as it involves a sacrifice. It is such worship that tends to receive faster and greater recognition and reward from the Almighty God. Although it is possible to offer a sacrifice to the Almighty God without necessarily worshipping Him, the one who offers a sacrifice in the course of worship is better positioned to receive a reward.
The Almighty God asks that man love him with all his heart, mind and soul. That is what worship is all about. Nothing should be of greater priority to the one that claims to worship the Almighty God more than God Himself. It is a decision that every one who claims to love God must take. May God grant His people the spirit of worship in Jesus name. Amen.