One of our top priorities in life is to worship God. God made us to worship Him. Worship is a lifestyle of heart devotion to God.
There is a connection between worship and love.
“Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.”
What is worship? It is loving God. It is expressing our love to Him. We are not just singing songs about God; we are telling Him personally that we love Him. Worship is best expressed in first person, not third. “We love You, God” is the essence of worship.
The greatest commandment is to love God. So how do we do that? We pour our affections upon Him, and He does so to us in return. Worship is a two way street. We must not only tell God that we love Him, we must open our hearts and let Him love us at the same time.
There is also a connection between beauty and worship. God created us with eyes, in such a way that when we see something beautiful, we experience pleasure. And in effect we have two sets of eyes, physical and spiritual.
Part of worship is to look upon and look toward God with the eyes of our heart. Worship should be pleasurable because we are gazing on the beauty of the Lord (Psalm 27:4). His beauty is above all other beauty, and therefore the pleasure of worship is ultimately the pleasure above all pleasures.
One of my favorite worship verses is Psalm 45:2, which describes the beauty of Yeshua the King in His glorified form.
“You are more beautiful than the sons of men.”
The word for beautiful in Hebrew is a poetic grammatical form where the root is doubled. The equivalent in English might be: beauti-beauti-ful. When I feel tempted with lust of the eyes, I turn to Yeshua in worship and say, “You are more beautiful than anything else I could look at on this earth.”
Part of the problem of the lusts of the world is that they pull the spirit of man, particularly men, away from the pleasure of looking upon the Lord. As there is a lust of the flesh, there is also a lust of the eyes (I John 2:16). Lust of the eyes is the satanic counterfeit of the beauty of worshiping God.
Lust is a kind of desire, a desire to experience pleasure. Worship is to choose a higher kind of pleasure. Part of worship therefore is desire. Spiritual desire is a good thing, in fact a necessary thing for real worship.
God desires us to worship Him (John 4:23-24). Our desire is for Him and His desire is for us (Song of Solomon 7:10). The one thing we are to desire above all things is to worship Him (Psalm 27:4). Blessed are those who have a hungry desire to know God (Matthew 5:6).
We are to feed and develop this kind of desire. In order to worship we must overcome lust; and in reverse, worshiping God is the best method to overcome lust.
There is a tendency when we pray to give God a long list of “needs.” Yeshua said not to pray that way; “shopping list” prayers are signs of unbelief and carnality (Matthew 6:7-8).
Instead, He instructed us to start our prayers with praise, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name (verse 9)” and then to end them with praise, “Yours be the kingdom and the power and the glory (verse 13).” This method of sandwiching our prayers – starting and ending with praise – is a good habit to keep the right focus on Him, instead of upon our needs.
We can worship God when we are feeling our worst. Paul was supernaturally released from prison when he and Silas praised God at midnight after being beaten (Acts 16).
Another example is Job. After he had been ruthlessly attacked by the devil and lost everything he had, we find this amazing act of faith:
“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.“
We can turn the worst situation into an altar, where we can purposely, doggedly, sacrificially worship God. We can start with small frustrations, like traffic jams, as an opportunity to bless, instead of cursing. Difficult situations in the family, in the congregation, in finances – can all be used as a springboard to worship God.
On the cross Yeshua cried out “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46).” There are many reasons He said this. One of them has to do with praise. Yeshua was quoting from Psalm 22. The next verse is –
“You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
At this moment of pain and humiliation, Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, quoting the scriptures and praising His heavenly Father. His worship was an act of faith over adverse circumstances. The result we know – victory over sin and Satan.