What Is the Significance of Worship?

Remembering that worship is a position of the heart is also significant since we so often define worship as a service in a building. Believers do need to meet for corporate worship, but we can honor God anywhere, anytime, and in all areas of our life.

Contributing Writer
Published Mar 21, 2022
What Is the Significance of Worship?

Singing to music in church with our hands lifted and eyes closed — this is what many people think of when they hear the word “worship.”

Often, it is a concept restricted to a service on Sunday in a building where the congregation is led in worship by singing hymns or contemporary Christian music.

Churches even offer multiple services with different worship “styles” to accommodate people’s preferences in music.

We are easily swept up into arguments about music preferences, in what has been nicknamed the “worship wars.” Many Christians do have preferences on what they believe are biblical ways to worship the Lord.

However, by reducing worship to only music, we are missing out on the biblical definition and significance of worship. God is worthy of praise and honor.

Although we do not deserve to approach Him in our sinfulness, He has made a way for us to stand in His presence because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.

Furthermore, worship is significant because Scripture shows us that worship is not limited to a certain time or place. Praising God starts with the position of our heart and affects our whole life.

Worship Acknowledges God’s Worthiness

When we worship God, we are acknowledging that He is worthy of praise, honor, and glory (Revelation 5:12).

The Lord is holy and our correct response to His majesty is to bow down before Him. Isaiah describes the worthiness of God in his vision of the cherubim, who continually worship God.

As they declare, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

In the presence of the Almighty Lord, we cannot help but stand in awe and worship Him. No one and nothing else deserves our praise except God. He alone is the one we should worship (Exodus 15:11; 20:3).

When people in the Bible were confronted with God’s majesty, they were afraid. The Lord’s holiness stands in stark contrast to our unworthiness. In comparison to God’s awesome glory, we quickly agree with Isaiah, who said “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5).

Peter’s response is also correct since when he witnessed the power of the Lord Jesus, “he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’” (Luke 5:8).

While we are sinners and do not deserve to approach God, He made a way for us to know and worship Him.

As Romans 5:8 reminds us, “God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Amplified Bible). Our ability to worship God came at a high price for Himself, the death of His Son.

Worship Is Not Limited to a Building or a Priest

While people today usually equate church services in a building with worship, Jesus does not. When He was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, He told her “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

The Samaritans worshiped on a mountain while the Jews worshiped in the Temple at Jerusalem (John 4:20). Jesus acknowledged that “salvation is from the Jews,” since He is the fulfillment of Jewish Law, but the centralization of worship at the Temple was passing away (John 4:22-23).

As He told the woman at the well, worship is not confined to a specific location. Believers can worship anywhere at any time.

We do not have to travel to Jerusalem or any other location to worship the Lord. The truth that we can worship our God and Savior throughout the day, no matter where we are, is reassuring and liberating.

Furthermore, our worship is personal, even when we worship with other believers. Since it is in “spirit and in truth,” worship is an act between us and God. The veil has been torn in two (Matthew 27:50-51).

We are no longer separated from the Lord, nor must we rely on a human priest to intercede for us (Hebrews 10:11-12). Instead, we have the perfect High Priest, Jesus Christ, who paid for us with His blood, enabling us to approach the Father with confidence (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16).

Therefore, Christian worship is not limited to a building or a priest, because God desires that His followers worship in spirit and truth. Believers can worship the Lord anywhere, personally or with others.

Worship Is a Heart Matter

Like the issue of buildings and priests, biblical worship is not about outward appearances or rituals.

Even in Old Testament times, when people went to the Temple to worship God, He desired wholehearted worship, not empty traditions (Deuteronomy 6:5). True worship is significant because it is about the position of our hearts.

Jesus addressed this matter when He spoke to the Pharisees about their hypocrisy. The Pharisees appeared devout and gave lip service to the Lord, but they were not truly worshiping Him.

As Christ said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules” (Matthew 15:8-9).

From the view of Scripture, worship is about our heart’s position toward the Lord rather than going through the motions of a service.

Hence, we may sing beautiful hymns of praise and bow our heads in reverence but may not be worshiping God if our heart is not in the right place.

Are we singing in response to God’s worthiness and our love for Him, or are we mouthing words because that is what we always do during church?

Paul likely thought about God’s desire for wholehearted worship when he wrote, “Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts” (Ephesians 5:19, GNT, emphasis mine).

The Lord is not pleased with empty displays of devotions. He desires and deserves our heartfelt worship.

Worship Affects Our Entire Life

Meeting with other believers on Sunday stems from the early church and is a biblical practice. However, just as worship is not limited to a building or outward appearances, it is also not restricted to a certain day or area of our life.

Knowing and declaring from our hearts that God alone is worthy of honor and praise transforms our entire life. We not only offer words of adoration but present our bodies and acts of service as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2).

Even the smallest act in our daily life can be done in honor of Christ. We can worship Him when we teach others about the Bible just as much as we can when we wash dishes for our family.

As Paul said, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthian 10:31). Any area of our life can be offered as worship.

If we are so captivated by the Lord and love Him with our whole hearts, then we will want to serve Him in all we do.

John Piper shows how worship affects our lives practically when he says, “All of our bodily life done in love for other[s] and in reliance upon God display the worth of God above all things and make us worshipers in our daily life.” Thus, we can worship in our daily life when we serve others from a place of love for God.

Why Does This Matter?

Worship is an essential aspect of the Christian life. If we know the Lord, we cannot help but praise Him and acknowledge His glory. We know that we are unworthy to stand before the majesty and holiness of God, but He has made a way for us.

Because God the Son died in our place and was raised to life, He enables us to approach the Father with confidence. Despite our unworthiness, we can worship the Lord.

Remembering that worship is a position of the heart is also significant since we so often define worship as a service in a building.

Believers do need to meet for corporate worship, but we can honor God anywhere, anytime, and in all areas of our life. Worship is not about tradition or following a set of rules. Instead, it is about the Lord God, who deserves all honor and praise.

For further reading:

Why Do We Raise Our Hands in Worship?

Why Does Worship Involve Singing?

Why Do Christians Sing Praise and Worship Songs?

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/David Nieto

Sophia Bricker is a writer. Her mission is to help others grow in their relationship with Jesus through thoughtful articles, devotionals, and stories. She completed a BA and MA in Christian ministry, which included extensive study of the Bible and theology, and an MFA in creative writing. You can follow her blog about her story, faith, and creativity at The Cross, a Pen, and a Page.


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