Churches use the word “worship” in a bunch of different ways which can get confusing. Heck, I get confused just telling the difference between the communion tray and the offering tray. And let me tell you, a twenty dollar tastes just as bad as you might think.
I see a lot of times at churches, they’ll have ‘Sunday School’ and then a ‘Worship Service’, or people referring to the singing portion as ‘Praise and Worship’. So for practical purposes today I’m going to define worship this way… Worship can be thought of having two parts: Praise and Thanks.
PS 100: Worship the LORD with gladness… give thanks to him and praise his name.
Praise and thanks are different.
For example, you cannot thank me for being as good looking as I am. “Conrad, thank you for being the best looking person in the history of mankind.” “Thank you for being Asian.” That doesn’t make much sense. I didn’t have anything to do with being the best looking person ever. That’s just who I am. However you can praise me for those things. “Conrad, you truly are the best looking person ever. It’s very cool that you’re Asian.” That’s praise.
And now thanks… You can thank me for… what I’ve done. “Conrad thank you for saving my children from those wolverines. Conrad thank you for saving me from that Kenny G concert.”
So with God, you can Praise Him for who He is and you can Thank Him for what He’s done.
Praise can be as simple as this… just fill in the blank… God IS _______. God IS love. God IS just. God IS holy. God IS merciful. So when we pray or sing or whatever, we’re pretty much saying stuff like, “God, you are merciful and forgiving. God you are wonderful.” That’s praise.
Thanks is stuff like, “God thank you for sending your Son to die for us. Thank you for my job. Thank you for these tacos of which we are about to receive.” Now here’s how it affects our everyday lives… God does stuff for us all the time, but many times we take it for granted. We get mad when we see a parent do all this work for their kid and instead of thanks, the kid takes it for granted, or worse, they complain.
1 Thess 5: 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
If we take our worship lightly, we will tend to commit the sin of ungratefulness more often. If you get a flat tire, do you thank God for his blessing of a car and trying to grow your patience, or do you throw his blessing of that car back in his face by complaining? If your boss is mean, do you thank God for the job and the opportunity to show grace, or are you unthankful?
When something negative happens in our lives, when we are not worship focused, we break God’s command of “in everything give thanks.” A worship focused life is one that can give thanks in everything.
So what do I do now?
If we are to grow in our worship of Him, we have to grow in our praise and thanks of Him. Which means we have to grow in our understanding of who God is AND what He’s done. So really this means we need to study God. The term “theology” means the study of God.
So there’s two things areas we need to focus on.
1. The data about God In your studies of God, find out about the different attributes of God. Study them in detail – so that your praise of Him will grow. Then also study the historical side of what He’s done, not only what He did in the Bible, but what He’s done in your life – which can be your thanks in Him. Yes, church is a good place to start, but…
If we want worship to be a central part of our lives, the study of God must be as well. Reading books, listening to podcasts, reading online devotionals written by the best looking Asian ever – can all be apart of making worship a central part of your life. If you read a passage in scripture as a devotional, to focus on theology, ask yourself, “If God left this part out of the Bible, what would I have not learned about his attributes or what he has done?”
2. The application of this knowledge of God This one is hard because this is a lifestyle change. Just because you know more about who God is and what he’s done doesn’t mean you’re going through life worshiping him in every situation every five minutes, “in everything.” This is a slow growth where before you would have complained about hitting a red light, but now you thank God for keeping you safe. Where before you would have complained about your spouse yelling at you, but now you thank God for your spouse and that you have the opportunity to show grace and that God is trying to grow your patience.
To help with this do this add this to your daily prayer: Pick the worst thing that happened to you that day – and find something to be thankful for.
Do that everyday, and you’ll start to find that you’ll give thanks after the fact, but eventually you’ll start to thank God as the ‘negative’ thing is happening. As we learn more about God, and actively praise and thank him during life, the more our worship of him grows.
Today’s Passage: (As you read the passage for today, take notice of the melding of Praises and Thanks.)
Psalm 103 Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, 4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.6 The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. Read the full passage here.
Take time to pray: Praise God for His wonderful attributes. Pick the worst thing that happened to you this week and find a way to thank God in it. Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Love. Today’s Quiz: Fill in the blank. 1 Thess 5:18 says, ” in everything give _______.” A. presents B. thanks