How do we live a life of worship? First thing that we must do is look into God’s Word for the answer. Turn to Matthew 20:20-23, “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, [a]and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” God wants us to understand certain principles, that the essence of our giving is our relationship with Him, it is not for the benefits that come from Him. Let’s look at the word “essence,” it is the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character. (Dictionary.Com) The meaning or the motivation for our giving is not for the benefits, our motivation or the meaning of our giving is for the relationship, or should I say the essence of the relationship with God. The reason God wants us to understand this is because for years we have been given a false teaching, that we have to give to get. Under the Old Covenant, this was the case. We would have to obey the law in order to get blessed. Under this covenant we were taught that we have to give to get. The Scripture in Luke chapter six, verses thirty-seven through thirty-eight shows this: “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” This Scripture was given based upon the law, not based upon grace. As we can see, if we give we should expect something in return. The giving is based upon the benefits and not based upon the relationship. Under the Old Covenant, we are to love in order to love, but under the New Covenant, He first loved us. Under the New Covenant of grace, we are not doing something to get God to do something, but under this covenant, He has already done everything that we will ever need. It has already been done. We are not giving to get blessed, we give because we are already blessed. We don’t love God because we want to love others, we love God because He first loved us and this enables us to love others.
The essence of our giving is the relationship we have with God. Our giving is the result of our wanting to know God. We aren’t giving to get something from God, we are giving as our worship to God. We are going to give Him thanks for what He has already done for us. We are going to Him, to give Him our worship. We are not going to Him to get something from Him, we are going there to give Him praise. We are there to give to Him, because He has already given us so much. We are giving, because He keeps giving to us. It is non-stop with Him, because He loves to give to us. His desire is to keep blessing us. We give because it is our worship, the gift that we have for our God, who we love. Ours is a gift, nothing more and we shouldn’t expect anything in return, but that is not the God that we serve, because He continues giving to us, even if we don’t give to Him. We don’t give to get blessed, we give because we are already blessed. When we give, it causes us to remember what God has already given to us.
Our giving is to thank God for all that He has already done. It is our gift to Him. Thanking Jesus for saving us, providing for us, healing us, delivering us, and most of all for loving us. True worship is giving a gift to the One we love. The Bible shows us this in Matthew 2:11, “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” They presented their gifts as they worshipped the young child. They worshipped Him for coming to save all mankind. They worshipped Him for coming to end the war between God and man’s sin. They fell down and they worshipped Him because of what He was about to do. They did not enter His presence to get blessed by Him, they came to adore and worship Him.
We have been taught wrong. We have been taught that we have to give in order to get something. We have been taught, if we give, we will be blessed. It has always been about receiving the benefits instead of having the relationship. Oh how we need to repent for our misunderstanding. We have not pursued our relationship with God, we have been pursuing the benefits that God can give. When we pursue the relationship with Him, then the blessing just naturally come to us. The relationship has to be sought first, not the benefits. God has to be first, then our motivation moves on from there, because nothing needs to be before the Lord. If God isn’t first, then we will never see the blessings.
What motivates you? What moves you? Why do you want to be labeled a “Christian?” Why do you want to go to church? What are your goals? What motivated you to allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Were you motivated, so that you were saved from hell and damnation? Why did you want Jesus? Was it for the blessings or was it for the relationship? What was the driving force behind your decision?
Are we Christians because we want the relationship with God the Father, or are we Christians because we want what He can give us? What benefits do we desire, and what is it that we truly want from God? When will it become that we just want to Him personally? Philippians 3:10 says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Paul said this in his letter to the Philippians, he said that above everything in this world, he wanted just one thing, and that was to know God intimately and personally. That should make us ask this question, “Where is my relationship with God?”
Say this: ” Father, I want to know You, I need to know You. Father I desire You above everything else.”
We shouldn’t be searching for what God can give to us, because He has given so much already. We must make it our priority to search for the intimacy that we can have with Him in a personal relationship. When are we going to just want Him? When are we going to stop coming to God with our wants, and go to Him with our gifts of worship? When we are in the relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not have to come to Him wanting, because we will already know that it is a part of the relationship. If we will just seek an intimate relationship with Him, then everything else will be added unto us, we need to be in it for the relationship.
Say this: ” Jesus I want a relationship because I want to know You, I want You only.”
We must tell God daily that we love Him and that we want Him. Tell Him that we desire know all about Him. Tell Him that we want Him to live His life through us. Tell Him that we are not in this relationship for the benefits, we are in the relationship to know Him intimately. If everything in the world was taken from us, I want you to know that God will always be there for us. He said that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. Why? He considers us the apple of His eye, His beloved, and His children. This means that we are always welcome in His presence. Wen we seek a relationship with God, only blessing come to us. Success is one of those blessings. We must seek to be in the presence. When we begin seeking the things over God, we are stepping into “Idolatry.” We are replacing God with the things that we want. We take God from first place in our lives, and place Him second place, making our wants take the first place. When we replace God with our desires, we put our desires up as “Idols.” We put God second and we don’t want to know Him, and we don’t get the blessings.
What motivates us? What is meant by the word “Motive?” It is a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious (Dictionary.com). Our motive tells our story, it tells everything about us to God. Let me show you what I mean, turn to Matthew 20:20, “Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.” The mother of the sons of Zebedees came to Jesus to worship Him, but her motive was to go into Jesus’ presence and not to give Him worship by giving to Him, she went there to ask something from Him. Real worship is when we come into God’s presence giving of ourselves, not asking for favors. Genuine worship is the giving of a gift, asking for nothing in return, just desiring to be in God’s presence. Let’s read verse twenty-one, “And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” The sons of Zebedees mother wanted her sons to have a place on the right and the left of Jesus when He came into His kingdom. As can be seen here, her motive was to see that her sons receive high honor in the kingdom of God. She did not come to Jesus for the relationship, she came to Him for the benefits. Worship is not when we hear Christian music played or even when we pray, worship is going into God’s presence with the gift of ourselves and surrendering everything that we are to Him. When this mother came into Jesus’ presence, to worship Him, this wasn’t true worship, she did not come with giving as her motivation. She came there with a desire, she didn’t come to give anything, she came to ask for something. Abraham he knew true worship, he went to God with all that was dear to him, his own son and he ready and willing to sacrifice his own son to God. Why would he do this? He did this because he was in love with God. The mother of the sons of Zebedee’s came to Jesus to receive something and not give anything. When we come into a relationship with Jesus expecting the benefits and none of the relationship, we leave His presence with nothing. Let’s read on, verse twenty-two and twenty-three, “But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” As we worship it has to be all about the relationship, not about the benefits, as we want more of the relationship, giving all that we have and not asking for anything in return, we will receive both the relationship and the benefits.
What is your motive and why do you want to know Jesus? Is it for the relationship and not the benefits? You see, we confuse benefits with the essence. We pursue the relationship with the benefits of the relationship. If we would pursue the relationship with Jesus the right way, then both the relationship and the benfits will come together. If we pursue the relationship with the wrong motive, then we will even enjoy the gifts. You see, when we pursue the benefits first, they never seem to satisfy us. If we would just pursue the intimate relationship with God first, then the benefits will follow close behind, and we will enjoy them. If we pursue the benefits first, then we will lose both the benefits and the relationship. The more we pursue the benefits over the relationship, we are in danger of slipping into idolatry. Our relationship with God should always be our ultimate goal in life. God is always giving, that is what He loves to do, but even though He keeps giving, we should desire to know Him more and more.
Why do we want to know Him? Let’s look at what the Bible says, turn to 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” Now let’s take a look at this verse in the New Living Translation, “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” Jesus died for our sins once and for all, He died for the just and the unjust. Why did He do this? He did it so that we could have a relationship with the Father. Jesus did not die so that we could receive benefits, He suffered and died so that we could have an intimate, personal relationship with the Father. He suffered to make us righteous, so that we could enter into the Holy of holies, but in order for us to have all of this we have to seek God first, and all the benefits will be added onto us. We must stop seeking the benefits and we must continuously seek the presence.
What is worship? It is choosing the essence of the relationship of knowing God personally over the benefits, this is worship. Every time we choose to know God over the benefits, we will be drawn into a life od worship. We will be drawn into an intimate relationship of worship. Why? Because we will choose God first!
How do we give the gift of ourselves in worship? Let’s look at Romans 12:1-2 in the New Living Translation, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Notice what this Scripture says, we are to give our bodies to God, because of all He has done for us. Our bodies are to be a “Living Sacrifice.” What is a sacrifice? It is a gift! We are to present ourselves to God as worship. The least that we can do for God is give of ourselves, because He has given so very much to us. We must give all of ourselves to God in worship. Our bodies should be the gift and we should worship Him with it. Let’s take a look at this Scripture in the Message Bible, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” The Bible clearly states, how we are to worship, by giving our lives back to God, He gave us life, we should be willing to give it all back to Him. Our gift to Him should be our lives.
How do we make ourselves an offering? We do it by saying to the Father, that we are presenting our lives to Him as our gift to Him in thanksgiving for all He has done for us. Not that we want more from Him, but that we give this gift as worship to Him. We give ourselves to God the Father to adore Him, to praise Him, and to thank Him, for all that He has already done. We present our bodies to show Him that we are in love with Him. When we present our bodies as an offering, then any addictions that we have will fall away from us. God becomes first and we are giving completely of ourselves, we give Him all we are, all we have, and all we give all of us. It is our gift to Him as worship. Alcohol that has enslaved us will no longer be first, He is. The drugs that were binding us, they will go because God is first. The lust of the flesh will not not hold onto us, because God is first. The pain from the disease or sickness will depart from us, because God is first. This all possible when we surrender ourselves to the Father, body, souls and spirit.
“Embracing what God does for us is the best thing that we can do for Him.” Think about this for a moment! Think to yourselves what God has done for you? Remember what He has done and remember how He has provided for you when nothing was there for you. Remember how He healed your body. Remember how He got you a job. The Scripture says for us to embrace what God has done, this is the best thing that we can do. Not doing it for ourselves but doing it for God. Turn to Deuteronomy 6:10-11 and let’s read this out of the New Living Translation, “The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land,” God promises us this and even more, but He wants us to do only one thing, turn to verse twelve, “be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.” The one thing that God wants us to remember is to “Not Forget Him.” Look at what God told Joshua, “I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them. So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.” We must never forget God! The best thing that we can do is embrace what God has done for us, to God be the glory.
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it, without thinking. Fix your attention on God.” Where is your attention most of the time? Most of the time our attention is upon us! Our attention is upon who we want to be with, what we want to do, where we want to go, and when we want to do it. Isn’t this the truth? We don’t think about God. We don’t acknowledge Him. We must stop looking at ourselves and we must not forget God who made us. We must fix our attention totally upon God.
Say this: ” Father I repent of my selfishness and from now on I will put my attention upon You.”
“We must fix all our attention upon God.” Look at this now, this is what happens when we fix our attention upon God. We will be changed from the “inside out.” A change that only God can do. How do we get this change? We get it by fixing our attention on God. Not only does God change us, but He changes us from the inside out. What does this mean you ask? He changes us from our hurts, our pains, our sufferings, and our sorrows, and He makes us be at peace within ourselves.
“Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-informed maturity in you.” What does God do to change us? He takes a look into our hearts and He sees who we really are, then He pulls the best out of us. The world always is out to drag us down to their level, but God brings the best out of us and He matures us into the image of Christ Jesus. He takes the best and makes it better, so that He can use it for His glory.
All these verses that we have read points us to a life of worship. What we do with our lips, will be worship. What we do with our hands and feet, will be worship. What we think about, will be worship. Our entire bodies are a gift to the Father. it is our worship to God. So, are you ready to give yourself as a gift of worship?