- Transformation comes with worship; the question is, “What are we truly worshiping?”
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s worship leaders, one of the most difficult challenges we face is judging the effectiveness of our corporate worship services. In this article, I’d like to look at how worship transforms each and every one of us.
We become what we worship.
Worship, by any definition, shapes who we are. Every human heart is hard-wired to worship. We are made in God’s image, each of us carries the Imago Dei, the image of God, in our essence. Therefore, we are all, always, worshiping something. There’s always something at the center of our thoughts, our desires, and our affections. Whatever that thing or those things are, is what shapes us.
I’ll never forget as a 7-year-old boy I was OBSESSED with Batman. I watched Batman on TV every chance that I got. I begged my mom for Batman PJs, Batman lunchbox, and the ever-so-important “Batman cape”. I wanted to ride my bicycle down the road and see the cape flying up behind me like Batman’s did when he drove the Batmobile. If it were possible to become Batman, I would have traded everything and done it. This silly childhood story of mine is all-too familiar. In fact, I’d bet good money that you can remember stories like this in your own life. This type of thing is in our nature, we all do it.
“Our worship is either aimed at our ruin or at our restoration.”
In the book of Romans, we see an interesting contrast when it comes to the OBJECT of our worship. The author, the apostle Paul, points out that our worship is aimed at either a) our ruin or b) our restoration (Rom. 1:18-27; Rom. 12:1-2). If we focus our worship on created things instead of the Creator, we are aiming our worship at our own ruin instead of restoration. We could spend a lot of time looking at these passages, but the primary point that I would like to bring out of the text is this:
“If our “worship” to God isn’t changing us into Christ’s image, then our “worship” to God might not be real”.
Here’s another way to say it, “If our worship to God isn’t changing us, our worship to something else is.” We have to remember that our worship shapes who we are; therefore, if we’re truly engaged in worship to God, we’ll be transformed into His likeness (Col. 3:10). Therefore, by simple deduction, if our lives aren’t being conformed to the image of Christ, if our desires for God aren’t growing, if our hearts aren’t breaking for the things that break our Father’s heart, then we need to take a close look at how authentically we are worshiping God.
Here’s my admonition. In an time where worship can be more about performance than presence, more about consuming instead of community, and more about being a fan than being a follower, I think it’s easy to get lost in it all and somehow lose our purity of heart toward God. We have to realize that we’re prone to aim our worship at the created instead of the Creator. Some of us slowly migrate there unintentionally and others of us are bent full force on worshiping our idols.
What would it look like if we saw a movement of worshipers emerging within our churches worldwide who desired God Himself more than anything else? What if this movement exposed idols for what they really are and lifted Christ high as the Savior of all? What if this movement was characterized by God’s power working through thousands of ordinary people just like you and me? Would you believe me if I told you that this movement is actually already happening. Jesus started it when He came to the earth, and he referred to it as the Kingdom of God. The pure flame of God’s love is burning with strength and is perfectly poised to ignite the hearts of those who seek Him earnestly. Without sounding too much like a half-time speech, I wonder if Jesus’ isn’t awakening a generation of worshipers to accomplish things for His Kingdom that we have never seen before.
Aaron is a leader, a songwriter, and a pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, AR. Find out more at aaronwilliamsblog.com.
Over the last 30 years, Worship Leader Magazine has been blessed to have many different contributors on the editorial team - this is their archive.