March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”—Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)
What’s something you find unacceptable? For some, it’s really shoddy work, disrespect and back talk, or laziness. For others, it’s hypocrisy, immaturity, poor hygiene, or bad manners. I think we can all agree that these things are pretty rough and, for the most part, unacceptable behavior for adults, right? But would you ever think to classify worship as being either acceptable or unacceptable? God does . . . To God, there’s worship that’s acceptable and worship that is not.
What does it mean to “worship God acceptably?” In Greek, the word used for “acceptably” (euarestōs) here also means “pleasantly.” I often think about how a teacher might rank or grade a paper. Work that is acceptable is actually pleasing and respectful. We can work at something yet do so in a manner that is not necessarily beneficial or good. When we offer our worship to God, we shouldn’t want to offer anything less than pleasant worship! What the writer of Hebrews is reminding his audience is that our worship to God should be filled with gratitude, reverence, and awe because if not, we can easily make worship about ourselves!
Think about experiences in worship you’ve had in the past. Perhaps you’ve experienced worship at a Christian concert, or maybe it just feels like a concert sometimes at church! Hopefully, you’ve also experienced worship in a small and intimate setting with just a guitar and people’s voices. Think about how we worship through reading and studying Scripture, or reciting Scripture either to ourselves or in a group. What is the common thread in all of these kinds of worship? It’s the uplifting, honoring, and magnifying of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! If you don’t find these things in a worship experience, then take a step back and ask yourself why. Worship is not worship if it doesn’t glorify and focus on our gracious and sovereign God!
In what ways can we be vessels for worship that truly please and honor God with our praise? Here are some thoughts and additional Scriptures to cling to:
Always lean into Scripture and the Holy Spirit to guide and fill your praise with truth.
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”—John 4:24 (NIV)
Offer praise in psalms (poetry), hymns, songs, and other creative expressions with wisdom and gratitude.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”—Colossians 3:16 (NIV)
Don’t be afraid to physically bow and kneel before God in worship. Always come before Him in humility!
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”—Psalm 95:6 (NIV)
Pause: Have you ever made worship more about yourself than about God? How can you make your pursuit of worship more about God and less about your to-do list or your own feelings?
Practice: Spend time worshiping God today. Whether it be through songs and music, through writing, through dancing, you name it! Spend time in worship and intentionally fix your eyes and thoughts on the character of God.
Pray: Father, I admit that sometimes I approach worship selfishly trying to get something out of it and out of You instead of just offering You my praise. I repent and ask that You help me reflect on Your power and might in worship! I want to be filled with reverence and awe for You. You are truly so worthy of my praise, and today I offer it to You in everything! Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.