How much of our life is spent thinking about ourselves? Self-Centered. Most people wouldn’t like to be called self-centered. The most powerful in society consider themselves public servants. Yet we look at people who have influence and wonder if they are motivated by pursuit of power. Worship by its nature calls us to change.
“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.” William Temple’s (1881-1944) Readings in St. John’s Gospel.
Worship then isn’t just about Sunday. When I start my day remembering I am not in charge, I am not pursuing approval by my holiness and I am hungry and in need of the meat of God’s Word to nourish me, then I begin to worship. Each day begins by tuning my heart like a musician tunes his instrument. Life begins to be worship as each decision is a place to submit to God asking for wisdom and knowledge. Each moment is the place where I, filled with His Spirit, walk in fellowship and purpose.
When I create, it becomes a place for worship no matter if the artwork is expressly for worship or not. The heart connected with God is able to create and be a conduit where God can speak. The artist and his art flow from the place of worship, as imagination is purified by his beauty. So my music, my writing, my painting, dancing, sculpting, acting, creative problem solving… are pursued with the awareness that this world is not all about me. Worship involves submission, so does art. I submit to a variety of rules and laws which help me create. I work to create in a world and with the tools and abilities He gives me. I create with an awareness that He has shaped my knowledge and experience, skill and insight. Nothing that I create is created from nothing. As worship begins with God, so does my art.
This doesn’t just relate to creativity, it also connects everyone who pursues their calling and work. While much of my life involves worship and arts, I am called to teach and disciple. When I begin to consider how to minister to the needs of one of the men I disciple, it also begins with worship. For if I begin my discipling with a self-centered heart, I tend to come thinking I have all the answers or show a lack of compassion to the real needs of others. I end up thinking, “not this again, didn’t they learn it already.” Or when teaching foundational truths, I can become bored with the basics, wanting only to stimulate my desire to learn intellectually. Worship brings the Gospel to my heart again and again. In the process of preaching the simple yet profound truth of God, I am changed. My discipleship changes! You may be called to a seemingly “secular” work. For the believer, there is no difference between a sacred and secular calling. All of life under the rule of God will see His influence and be a place for kingdom work. So worship will impact the way you go about doing your work as God changes you!
It is Worship and a heart moved in submission to the Creator that changes the way I live, disciple and create. As in most things, I can’t segment my life into easy categories where worship is a religious event, my creativity and art are a personal expression without reference to the Creator and my life is for me to live. My life is better when I remember each and every moment is a form of worship. In the mundane places where I learn to submit my will to God. When I choose to act not out of self-interest but seek the well being of others. When I begin to create and find that the creative process is where I can connect with God’s Spirit as I work at one of the things He has created me to do and enjoy. Just as Olympic runner, Eric Liddell, in the movie Chariots of Fire felt the pleasure of God as he ran, so too we are able to do our work to the glory of God – as worship.
So when I begin with worship… I see my self-centered heart transformed, but not just my heart, my life and my work as well.
What would it look like for you to worship God today? How about starting by giving your life, totally, to Him in worship. You might just end up like Isaiah who is called to even greater things, “Send me!”