trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Adorned with Salvation

Worship prepares us for life. All of it.

Worship and Public Policy (4)

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Psalm 149.4

Worship as celebration
Why do Christians worship in the first place? What’s the purpose of worship?

In many pagan religions the purpose of worship is to placate the gods—to keep them happy and to stay on their good side, lest they mess with, you know, the harvest or procreation or whatever. Worship is thus a work pagans do to earn or keep the favor of their deity.

Christians don’t worship to placate God or earn His favor. We don’t worship to make God happy or bring Him pleasure. God is all-satisfied, all-happy, and all-pleased in Himself alone. We add nothing to Him when we come together to worship.

At the same time, as we worship, God adds Himself to us. He deigns to commune with us, inhabits our praises, and brings us into His presence and joy in ways that transform all we are, think, feel, value, say, and do.

Essentially, Christians worship for three reasons, and Psalm 149 glances on each of these. The first and most obvious reason Christians worship is to celebrate God. God is incomparably great and good. He possesses infinite and incomparable worth. The word “worship” derives from “worth-ship” and acknowledges the aseity of God, Who He is in Himself. Further He has done great and good things for us. When we’re in His Presence, and especially when we’re together with other believers in His Presence, we can’t help but break out in our songs of joy because of the greatness and goodness of our God.

In worship we celebrate God, declaring His many glorious attributes and virtues, boasting of His great works, and rejoicing in the privilege and pleasure of knowing and participating in Him. Worship is not worship unless it is characterized throughout by the celebration of God.

Worship as inspection
But worship is also a time of inspection. Remember, God calls His people together for worship—as we symbolize in the “call to worship” that begins our corporate services. As we see in Psalm 50, God “musters His troops” as it were on the Kingdom green. He comes to inspect us thoroughly, to receive our outward practices in worship, of course, but even to look into our hearts, search out our daily lives, instruct, admonish, and warn as necessary, depending on what He sees in each one of us.

When troops assemble for inspection, they come dressed in all their best and stand straight and still, at attention, waiting on their turn under the scrutinizing eye of their commander. When God’s people assemble for worship, we need to make sure that our hearts are cleansed and pure, that there are no lingering sins or outstanding debts of love which we owe to others. We need to make sure our minds are fixed on things that are above, and that we so value our time with the Lord that we are not allowing our souls to stray to other matters. As we come before the Lord of glory we sing with full hearts and boisterous mouths, praying and praising with urgency, and hearing the Word of God with every determination to obey.

In worship God inspects His people, searching us by His Spirit, to expose and expunge anything in any area of our lives that is not consistent with the salvation He has given us in Jesus Christ (Ps. 139.23, 24). Thus, under God’s watchful eye, according to His Word, by His Spirit, and with a view to seeing Jesus, in worship we are transformed, so that as we return to the world, we are a little more like Jesus than we were.

Worship as preparation
Thus, worship is also a time of preparation. In worship we empty ourselves in celebration and stand up to the Lord’s inspection. And as we hear the Word of God and partake of Him in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, God is doing something within us. As our Psalm expresses it, He is beautifying our lives with His salvation. He is “suiting us up” with His great salvation in our times of worship—personal and corporate—so that we can go forth from that context to continue our worship of God in every facet of our everyday lives. Our salvation, in fact, amounts to an ongoing experience of worship, as the joy of the Lord transforms and equips us for daily living in all areas of life (Rom. 12.1, 2).

As we worship, therefore, we listen carefully to hear God speaking into our souls and our lives. We should be eager to acquire new insights and understandings, to lay aside wrong affections and embrace new ones, to solidify God-honoring values and choices, and to discern the paths of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit for all our words and deeds.

When we have truly met with the Lord in worship, we will come forth, having been scrutinized by and beautified in Him, better equipped to serve Him with the power of His salvation.

As we live out the transformation we experience in worship, we become living examples of the saving grace and power of the Lord. We show Jesus to the world. We demonstrate grace, patience, kindness, and all the fruit of the Spirit. We evidence to one and all the tokens of love, the virtues of holiness, the warmth of understanding and compassion, and the uncompromised demands of eternal truth. We do not live like flotsam and jetsam on the ever-changing currents of a storm-tossed sea. We ride the Wind of God Who moves the seas, the earth, and everything in them.

And when, having celebrated the Lord and been examined and transformed by Him in worship, we go forth into the world of work and things and people and responsibilities, we go with a changed countenance and demeanor. We show by our lives the hope of the Gospel (1 Pet. 3.15), a hope which speaks truth into all aspects of life, including the arena of public policy.

Worship shapes us to live for Jesus in every area of life, including all those arenas of public policymaking where God is pleased to allow us to serve and glorify Him.

For reflection
1.  How does your understanding of worship compare with what was explained in this article?

2.  Meditate on Isaiah 28.9-13. What role does corporate worship fulfill in this process?

3.  Meditate on Romans 12.1, 2. How can singing and worship help to keep us in the Presence of the Lord and His joy throughout the day?

Next steps—Transformation: Celebration, inspection, preparation: Do these ideas define your own practice of worship? In which of these areas do you need to improve your worship of God? How do you expect worship to transform your life this week?

T. M. Moore

Our bookstore offers three resources to help you grow in knowledge of, love for, and obedience to the Law of God. Please check out The Law of God (click here), The Ground for Christian Ethics (click here), and A Kingdom Catechism (click here). The Law of God arranges all the statutes and commandments of God under one or another of the Ten Commandments. It can be a useful guide for reflection as part of your daily time with the Lord. For The Ground for Christian Ethics and A Kingdom Catechism, read the table of contents and listen to the audio excerpts to learn more about each book.

Support for
ReVision comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.