This post is written by Allyson M. Howell and is published as a companion to Unit 13, Session 2 of The Gospel Project for Adults Vol. 5 (Fall 2022): From Rebellion to Exile.
Worship of God can sometimes be misunderstood as only what happens on Sundays (and maybe Wednesdays) at your church. While these events of the corporate gatherings include prayer, preaching, fellowship, and singing, this is not all that worship is. It is also not less than what worship is.
Worship of God affects every part of our lives. It affects how we spend our time, how we treat our neighbors, what our marriages look like, and so much more. Worship can also be attributing praise to God and honoring God with our obedience.
Do you consider obedience to be an act of worship? Or is it more like a list of things you have to check off in order to consider yourself good?
Worship in Obedience Demonstrates Love
God is honored and worshiped when we obey Him because we are demonstrating our love for Him.
If one of your best friends asks you for a chocolate cake for their birthday, but you go out and get vanilla because it’s cheaper and more convenient, you haven’t loved your friend enough to do what they ask.
If your spouse asks you to do the dishes, and you rinse everything off but leave it in the sink, you haven’t loved him or her because you haven’t fully done what is expected of you.
Worship in Obedience Follow’s Christ’s Example
Love is demonstrated in our honoring of one another’s wishes and in our decisions to die to our own wants and desires for the sake of another.
Because God did this for us, because He sent His only Son to die in our place and to put his own wants and wishes aside for our sake, we can honor Him by obeying what He requires of us. Walking in obedience to the Lord is an act of worship. When we follow Him with joy and thankfulness, we are recognizing that He has made a way for us to be in relationship with Him, and that He is worthy of our praise and our obedience.
Acts of Obedience and Worship
Gathering with the church body on Sunday is an act of obedience (Hebrews 10:25). Singing with fellow believers is an act of obedience (Colossians 3:16). For pastors, preaching the Word is an act of obedience (2 Timothy 4:2). Speaking words of encouragement and not unwholesome words is an act of obedience (Ephesians 4:29). Not loving money is an act of obedience (Hebrews 13:5).
All of these acts of obedience are also acts of worship. They give praise to our sovereign God who knows what is good and right and perfect. He asks that we obey Him and trust Him. Yet even when we fail, God is ready to forgive (1 John 1:9). He will continue to sanctify us day by day as we get closer to eternity. Even our repentance honors and glorifies Him. Fellow Christian, love the Lord with everything you have and worship Him with your life (Mark 12:30). He is your reward and is worthy of all your praise.
Allyson M. Howell is an event planner and content creator for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. She holds an MDiv from Midwestern Seminary. Allyson is a member and the deacon of Women’s Ministry at Wornall Road Baptist Church and lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, Randy.