Love Expressed: Beyond music, biblical worship is defined by the heart position

As a church leader, you probably know that the Bible says you should worship God. You may even feel a deep desire to express your thankfulness to Jesus, your Savior, who rescued you from sin and gave you a brand-new life. But many have one question: How do I biblically worship?

Should you stand reverently with a hymnal in your hands and sing softly? Or are you supposed to shout and wave your arms? What about bowing? Dancing? What about acts of service, like feeding the poor or helping those in need? What is the right way to worship?

Worship always begins with a heart submitted to God. The position of your heart determines whether your actions are merely physical gestures or also spiritual ones—if you are connecting to your emotions or connecting to God. If the position of your heart is not worship, then nothing you can do with your body will be either.

The apostle Paul simplifies the “how” of worship in his letter to the believers in Rome:

Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” (Romans 12:1, emphasis added).

But what does it mean to be a “living and holy sacrifice?” Paul goes on to explain that God has given every believer a unique gift.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christs body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other (Romans 12:4–5).

When we use the gifts God has given us for His glory, we worship Him. Many well-meaning Christians think worship only occurs during church services, but this is not true. On the contrary, worship can and should occur every day of our lives! Paul tells believers,

If God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly (Romans 12:6-8).

God does not require His people to become something they are not. He does not ask tone-deaf individuals to become expert singers or reserved introverts to become exuberant extroverts.

Rather, God allows us the amazing privilege of using the gifts He has already placed inside us. He has already equipped you with everything you need to worship Him. What an amazing Father!

Pastor Robert Morris says worship is “love expressed.” If this is true, then the how of worship is any act of service to God. It does not have to be extravagant, but it does have to be an expression of a humble heart.

Pride and worship cannot coexist. Though he was created to be heavens worship leader, Satan fell because pride entered his heart. He wanted to “be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14).

Pride is an easy trap to find ourselves tangled in; after all, it rarely presents itself as a dangerous sin. Instead, pride begins as the briefest notion of “I deserve . . .” When we begin to think we deserve more, we are entering the danger zone.

We must remind ourselves of this truth: “Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of Gods glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). The only thing we “deserve” through our own merit is death.

How amazing it is, then, that “the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God alone is worthy of all worship.

When you speak or act in Gods name, you worship. This includes:

  • raising your hands to the heavens,
  • bowing your knees,
  • singing songs of praise,
  • comforting a hurting friend,
  • working diligently at your job,
  • teaching your children about Gods love,
  • buying groceries for a struggling single parent,
  • give an encouraging word to a neighbor,
  • and so much more.

Worship does not require a talented singing voice, the ability to play an instrument or a résumé full of community service. None of these are wrong, of course, and they can all be forms of worship.

However, unless they are used for the glory of God, they are simply human effort. And in the light of eternity, human effort is worthless. True worship, on the other hand, has eternal significance.

Perhaps you have a hard time believing you can worship anywhere and anytime. You may feel as if God is so holy that nothing you do or say will be meaningful enough. Take comfort in 1 Samuel 16:7: “The Lord looks at the heart.”

God does not require the “right” words or actions; He just wants the right heart.

While teaching His disciples about the final judgment, Jesus shared the following story:

The King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Then the righteous ones will reply, Lord when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:34–40).

  1. How is the position of your heart related to worship?
  2. Why cant pride and worship coexist?
  3. What are some ways you can worship God in your everyday life?


Article taken from the Fresh Start Bible where Pastors Robert Morris, Jimmy Evans, Jack Hayford, and other key leaders answer common questions and provide the tools for building a strong spiritual foundation. With over 500 discipleship articles and studies blended alongside the scriptures, Fresh Start Bible will help find Gods direction for every day.

This article was extracted from Issue 6 (Summer 2021) of the AVAIL Journal. Claim your free annual subscription here.

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