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What is Worship?


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I was asked recently to explain worship. Growing up in the church, one would think that a response would easily roll of my tongue. I was wrong.

I walked away realizing that I had to go back to the drawing board. So here are some deeper thoughts that speak to the heart of what I would surmise as a valid definition. Worship is simply an acknowledgement of who or what we trust. The object of worship can be anything: a person, a thing or a higher being.

Quick review: Worship = Trusting. If we don’t trust something or someone, we can’t worship it. By extension, if we don’t trust God, we aren’t worshiping Him.

So then, what does it look like to not trust in God? First, it means we take shortcuts. We take matters into our own hands. When I was nine, I made it quite obvious to my parents that I wanted a slinky for Christmas. It never materialized and I couldn’t trust them to get me what I felt was a needed resource. (What kid doesn’t look to a Slinky as a staple). So I took matters into my own hands. I don't need to dwell on the details, but the end of the story is me sitting in the security office at The Bay waiting for my parents to come and pick me up. When we take matters into our own hands, it shows our lack of trust.

When we lie, cheat and steal because we don't have what we want, we demonstrate our lack of trust in a Creator who has an interest in working out every detail of our lives for our best.

Second, our lack of trust, or worship reveals itself when we substitute our Creator for something else. 

When we become preoccupied with our friends and family or work or objects or addictions, we are substituting these for the pleasure and purpose we are designed to find in our creator.


In the bible, we often see this in idol worship. Because they couldn't touch or feel God, they would manufacture a substitute.

So what is worship? It's revealed in our integrity. It is also revealed in our attention. How we behave and who we focus on will determine what we truly worship. It's more than the 30 minutes we sing songs at church. It's permeates our every moment and every relationship and every decision we make.

Who or what you trust is what you worship.

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