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By: Kristen L. McNulty

This devotion first aired on the MAD Christian Radio Show

A very essential part to a growing relationship with God is worship. Now I’m not talking about just the worship time at church. Having praise and worship at church is great, but in order to worship you don’t have to be at church. Jesus himself said so when talking to the woman at the well, “The time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father here or in Jerusalem” (John 4:21). That time Jesus spoke about is here. Before the Holy Spirit came, people had to go to the temple in Jerusalem to worship God because that was where God was. Now that we as Christians have the Holy Spirit inside of us, worship is no longer dependant on our geographical location.

Although some people believe it is, the truth is worship is not about us. It’s about God. If we happen to be blessed during worship, that is a bonus, not a requirement. Worship is not how we feel once we are done, it’s about how God feels once we are done. As it was told to me at one youth rally I attended, God doesn’t need us to tell Him how great He is, He already knows. God wants us to want to worship Him. He doesn’t need us to, but He wants us too. There is a difference. Then why do we worship you may ask? Well, there are four reasons I feel are important enough to mention. Number one, it comes naturally. When someone is very influential in your life and they are doing great things for you, it’s natural to want to compliment them. Worship is our way of complimenting God for the things He’s done in our lives. Like the Psalmist wrote, “I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness.”

The second reason we worship is because the Bible calls us to worship God. Psalm 48:1 states, “How great is the Lord, and how much we should praise him” and Psalm 66:1-2 declares “Shout joyful praise to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is.” Jesus said when challenging Satan in the desert you must worship the Lord your God. It’s that simple.

The third reason we worship is because worship is really giving to God what belongs to Him. Psalm 33:1 says, “Let the godly sing with joy to the Lord, for it is fitting to praise Him”. God has done so much for us, it is only right that we take the time to praise and thank Him for it. I mean the God of the Universe who created the world, loved us enough to die on a cross for our sin. If that isn’t worth praising someone for, I don’t know what is.

The forth reason we worship is because we need to. Even since I put a praise and worship session into my day, I haven’t regretted it. My relationship with God has flourished so much since I’ve started to praise Him more. Why? Because I’ve been floored in awe realizing just how awesome my God really is. If we don’t take the time to praise God for how great He is, we won’t realize just how great He is. I know on paper that sounds kind of funny, but in life it works. The more we worship God for His love and power, the more we will experience His love and power.

There are many ways to worship. Although most people associate music with worship, music is only one form of worshiping God. If you look out at the sunset and think “How awesome you are God that you painted that sunset in the sky”, you just worshiped. Other ways of worshiping include prayer, time spent doing things for God, witnessing, bible reading, mediating, having fellowship, I could go on. There are so many ways that you can worship God. You don’t have to be limited to tradition, or even what I listed. What worship all comes down to is the heart of the worshiper. You may be able to play guitar, sing, and even write worship songs, but unless your heart is in a state of worship, your worship is meaningless. Jesus spoke about this in John 4:24 when He said, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (italics mine). Did you get that last part, spirit and truth? If you are a Christian, and I assume you are if you want to worship Jesus, then you don’t have to worry about the Spirit part because you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. What true worship comes down to is truth. I hate to break it to you, but many of us lie when we worship God. We sing these songs about how great we think God is while are minds are thinking about other things. How often have you stood in church singing “praise songs” while you weren’t actually praising at all? It does happen, even to the best of us. Worshiping God in truth, as I see it, is basically when your worship is reflecting how you feel. For example, let’s say I start to sing “Teach me your ways oh Lord, that I might live according to your word. Grant me a pure heart that my life my honor you”, but I don’t actually mean or feel any of the things I am saying, then I’m not worshiping God. True worship comes when our hearts are aligned to what we are singing or saying.