In 1992 when Gary Chapman released his book, Five Love Languages, he recognised that the way we give and receive love matters in relationships. To simply feel love for someone is not sufficient to express love to them. Neither, perhaps more surprisingly, is even expressing love the way we prefer to express it. To really convey love to another is to consider how they prefer to have love expressed to them, and to do this in our love of them. For some people it is giving of gifts, for others it is spending time, words of affirmation, touch or acts of service. Everyone has ways in which they want love expressed to them and it might not be the same as ours.
Chris Hodges, in his book Fresh Air, suggests, “Worship is love expressed.”
Part of the implication of this is that the choices we make in worship matter to God. Worship cannot simply be about what we prefer or even feel comfortable with, anymore than expressing love is simply about what I want to do. It should consider the object of our worship. It should consider God.
Throughout the Bible there are several words which are translated as praise, and reflect ways in which God invites us to worship Him, or in the words of Chris Hodges, express love to God. Worship can range from raising of hands in reverence, to at other times with openness and gratitude for His goodness. It can be falling to our knees in humility, raising our voices in adoration, it can be times of celebration as we express awe of God, it can also involve music and song.
We find all these expression of worship in the Bible and they matter to God.
When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22: 37-38).
Our love of God matters to Him, so much so that Jesus identifies it as the most important command for us to follow. When we worship, it is an opportunity to express our love to God.
When we worship there is always the pull to do it the way we prefer, but if we want to deepen our relationship with God, then we need to make sure we come to worship with a focus on God. We should consider how God invites us to worship Him.
As Jesus reminded us, to worship Him should involve loving Him with all our mind, in other words, think about and focus on Him when we worship. Such worship honours God, draws us closer to God, and can I suggest, changes us as we connect with God.
Take some time out this week to worship. Maybe go to place by yourself, turn on some music and raise your hands, get on your knees, celebrate, sing, and shout of the goodness of God. Worship God in ways which He invites us to.