What is Worship?

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  • Posted on: 11 July 2015
  • By: Andrew Smith

We are all worshippers all the time. It’s what we’re created for—and also what we were created as.

We were created to reflect, mirror, image God in creation. However, through sin, we have a tendency to worship created things rather than our Creator God. (Romans 1:25)

This is most apparent today in our “sacred culture,” the marks of which are:

  • The myths that define life
  • Community
  • Sacred rituals

These aspects show up in most every area of our lives.


We follow our favourite bands; we sing their songs, we buy all their albums. When they make a bad one, we’re in music misery. Concerts are worship events.


We worship teams, dress up like our favourite athletes by wearing the same jersey and number. Our worship activities start up a few blocks away as we walk to the stadium and talk about what’s going to happen. People won’t even drive to your church, but they’ll walk to the football. There are sacred spaces, such as “the hallowed ground of the MCG” where people can spend an entire day. If your team is winning, you’re in heaven. If it’s losing, you’re in hell.


People define their lives by certain shows. What time they’re on determines our schedules. We have to know who got kicked off the island. We need to know how Lost ended. Oprah used the medium of television to launch her own religion—her gospel is one of self-empowerment, self-improvement, not for God’s glory but for your own. How many Christian women get more Oprah than Bible?

The Shopping Centre

Westfield is a temple. It’s where we go to get an identity. They even have a booth where you can get your eyebrows plucked, and you can get a massage.


You get a 250ml bottle of coke anywhere else; in America you get a bucket and a straw. People are starving in other countries; here we’re eating ourselves to death. Comfort foods; Jesus said he’d send a comforter, apparently it’s in the fridge.


When the answer to every problem is take this pill, you have a culture that believes that heaven comes from taking medication. Watch the ads. They show you the false heaven and false hell.

Arts & Recreation

For some people it is identity. It’s idolatry. It’s passionate, unceasing outpouring. BCF tv ads declare “This is Living!” when describing a life of boating camping and fishing, and contrasting it with everything else around.

If you look at the world around you and say “Where is the money, where’s the passion, where’s the energy”← there’s the idolatry.

But idolatry only fails us:

  • If you worship one thing, you have to demonize the other things.
  • People and things fail as gods. They disappoint and devastate. The saviour isn’t saving, so there has to be a sacrifice.
  • You end up using people instead of loving them.
  • People violently defend their idol—if you try to take it away, they’ll become violent.
  • You have to sacrifice to your idol—family, money, friends, health
  • We have theologies that present Jesus as an idol giver—health & wealth, “Jesus will give you a good marriage…”
  • If you follow the passionate worship of people, you will find that ours is a very sacred day where people have lost sight of the worship of God.

“Worship is the continuous outpouring of all that I am, all that I do and all that I can ever become in light of a chosen or choosing god” – Harold Best

Hebrews 13:15-17 “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

In light of that scripture, have a think about these questions:

  1. Who or what do you praise most passionately and frequently?
  2. How commonly and clearly do you confess Jesus Christ in the words you speak, type and sing?
  3. Are you a person who serves others with gladness in response to God faithfully serving you, or are you someone who prefers to be served rather than to serve? Do you serve when it is inconvenient or unnoticed, or when you are unmotivated?
  4. Are you an active participant in the life of the church and community? Do you give your time, talent and treasure to share God’s love in tangible ways with others?
  5. For whom or what do you sacrifice your time, health, emotion, money and energy? What do these acts of worship reveal about what you have chosen to deify in your life?
  6. Are you submissive to godly authority or do you tend to ignore it or rebel against it (could be parents, teachers, pastors, your boss maybe)?

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith's picture
Andrew is a science teacher, sound engineer and graduate of theology from Brisbane School of Theology. He enjoys teaching God's word in bible study situations, as well as seeking to create music which in unique and points to Jesus.