Why Does God Desire Our Worship?
September 1, 2016 by Nancy Ruegg
Eons ago when I was in seventh or eighth grade, Mom, Dad, and I made our way one evening to the shoe store downtown. As we trudged up the slight incline toward the entrance, I ended up walking behind them, in order to leave room on the sidewalk for pedestrians coming from the other way.
Imagine my mortification when my parents clasped hands.
“Please! Not in public!” I begged.
After all, they were old—in their mid-thirties. And at age thirteen, I was embarrassed enough to be seen in public with them. But to be in the company of parents showing affection? That was too much.
As adults we smile at the immature and almost comical responses of most young teenagers toward their parents. They like to pretend Mom and Dad don’t exist, in support of their burgeoning, highly exaggerated independence. They conveniently forget who pays the bills, helps with homework, does the chauffeuring, and provides care in countless other ways.
Some of those teens never lose that sense of highly exaggerated independence, even as they grow into adulthood. They conveniently forget who still provides care for them in countless ways: God. To ignore him as if he doesn’t exist is to behave like a middle schooler.
God deserves not only our attention but our worship. Think of it this way: If an Olympic gymnast out-performs the competition with a nearly flawless performance, she deserves applause from the crowd and that shiny gold medallion. We do not scorn the adoration and accolades she receives; she’s earned it.
Hasn’t God earned the same, only more so?
“OK,” we say. “So God deserves to be worshiped. But does he really need it? After all, he is completely sufficient within himself. Doesn’t it seem rather self-serving for God to want our worship?
God knows: if our worship is not centered on him, we easily fall into the worship of other things: career, material goods, leisure, adventure—any number of pursuits that can consume our attention. Not that it’s wrong to enjoy these things, but they will never provide deep down soul-satisfaction.
God made us with that deep-down place; it’s reserved for him. That’s why the first of the Ten Commandments is about worship (Exodus 20:3).
Worship determines what we become.
“What we worship determines what we become.”
— Harvey F. Ammerman
Ammerman further explains: “If we worship material possessions, we become more materialistic. If we worship self, we become more selfish still” (1). If we worship the adrenalin rush of exciting pursuits, we’ll continually look for more exhilarating thrills.
God wants us to worship him so we’ll become more like him—gracious, good, compassionate, and kind (Exodus 34:6).
Worship communicates God’s presence to men.
“It is in the process of being worshiped
that God communicates his presence to men.”
–C. S. Lewis
Adoration, praise, and gratitude create an atmosphere in which we can meet with God almighty (Psalm 89:15-17). And such encounters always result in joy (Psalm 16:11). Sometimes that occurs in a glorious, public celebration with other worshipers; sometimes it occurs in sweet, private communion.
Worship is a necessary outlet of the spirit.
C. S. Lewis also wrote: “Enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise.”
When we hear superbly good news, our natural inclination is to tell others about it. We’re social beings, after all. Research has suggested that when we share a positive experience with someone else, we are essentially enjoying it again as we relive the moment in the retelling and savor the experience once more (2).
It’s the way God made us – not only to expand our enjoyment with family and friends, but with him, our Heavenly Father.
We need to worship.
To know him and be known by him, to experience him is a God-given pleasure that nothing else can satisfy.
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(1) from Quote, Unquote, compiled by Lloyd Cory, Victor Books, 1977.
Photo & art credits: www.pinterest.com (5).