In this series called How to Spell Worship With Your Family, I want to take a deeper look at each word and how each concept can be easily incorporated within the home. Worship is a deep well of unsearchable riches that could never adequately be explained or grasped. Certainly not in a condensed blog series like this one. However, I hope to lay a foundation of what worship is in a way that is teachable and memorable. My hope is to lay a groundwork so that a child, student, or new believer might have a model to greater understand worship. At the same time, I desire to deepen the understanding and faith of the mature worshipper as well.
First, let’s quickly recap on what worship truly is. Worship begins with a loving and all-powerful God that created a way for humans to have communion with Himself. Through this divine relationship, made perfect and possible through Jesus Christ, we as humans then respond to God by offering Him our heart, our mind, our soul, and our strength. Worship is the divine dialogue between the Creator and the created.
Now, let’s see how the Word of God has much to do with this thing we call worship. When we love God, we will cherish, read, and study His Word. If we believe that worship begins with God revealing Himself to us, then we must begin this study where He reveals Himself the most, the Word.
Yes, the Lord shows His character and glory in many different ways outside of His Word. We know His power in creation, His love through His Son, His will through the speaking and leading of the Holy Spirit, His personality through the church, His breath in a baby’s first cry, and His peace in the saints last breath. God uncovers his attributes and wonders through countless examples. Yet, the place where He chooses to share who He is, what He’s done, and what He is going to do is in the pages of His divine and inerrant Word.
It is important to discipline ourselves and our families with the Word of God in three key areas:
1. READ THE BIBLE.
When we read the word of God, it’s as if we are young Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, drifting off to sleep to the surrounding world, hearing the voice of God calling us by name, and our hearts humbly respond as we begin to read the sacred text on the page, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10a NIV). This daily routine in the life of the Christian cannot be substituted with any other action and the same is true within the home.
Children need to hear the Word of God, even before they understand it’s full meaning.
Within the heart of the individual, and especially when it comes to family devotions, I fear we make this process too complicated and therefore, don’t pursue it at all for fear that we’ll get something wrong. Or many times we put the wrong expectations on the experience of reading the Word. We ask questions like, “Should I be feeling something as I’m reading?” “What is this talking about?” or “I get lost in the confusing sections so how do I know where to begin?”. When in all actuality, we need to come simply like a child, actively listening not just with our ears, but with our hearts through our eyes. Donald Whitney speaks of the importance and simplicity of how the reading of the Word can happen within the home when he says, “I’ve discovered in teaching this idea that sometimes people presume that they need to prepare some sort of lesson or devotional for family worship. Not so…just open the Bible to the place where you stopped last time and read…Read enthusiastically and interpretively. In other words, don’t be one of those people who reads the Bible as apathetically as if reading a phone directory out loud. It is the Word of God – read it to the best of your ability.”
There is power in the active and living words themselves. Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).
2. REMEMBER THE BIBLE.
The next step to reading scripture is remembering scripture. Memorizing scripture is not just a noble exercise, but a critical one. We must use scriptures to encourage us, strengthen us, and fight for us. Christ used scripture in the wilderness to battle Satan, and we too must use the “sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV). We can remember scripture in song, around the table, driving in the car, or by reciting it before bed. Whatever channel we use to plant the word of God in the hearts and minds of our families, we must be like David who said in Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (NIV).
3. REFLECT ON THE BIBLE.
The third step to reading and remembering, is reflecting. This is the active discipline of meditation. This concept of reflecting and meditating has received some unique connotations over the past several decades. Let us be clear, where the Eastern and New Age meditation involves emptying the mind of all things, Madeline Pena, in his book Christian Meditation, explains “Christian meditation is the act of filling one’s mind with Scripture, and dwelling on God and all that He offers to humanity. While the word ‘meditation’ in the Bible has three separate definitions, it can be summarized. It means to “mutter, speak and ponder” to oneself the words of Scripture so that we are constantly meditating on what God has spoken to us. This produces not only knowledge of the Bible, but also, a heart transformation.”
Many times, in scripture where the word “meditation” is used, it is referring to the reflection on the Word of God, the law of God, or the attributes of God (Psalm 1, 63:6, 119:5 & 78, Proverbs 4:20-22, Joshua 1:8). We must heed Joshua’s words when he affirmed, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).
To know the character of God, we must read and know His Word. To know the story of God, we must read and know His Word. To know the will of God, we must read and know His Word. Believers must treasure, seek, and “hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:16 NIV) and when we read, remember, and reflect we will begin building habits of worship in our lives and families.
As I’ve said before, worship goes much deeper than just singing songs as a congregation in a church building. It must start with the heart of the worshipper and spring forth into a life of passionate praise seen through every action of one’s life.