We can’t worship the Lord without first fearing Him and taking Him seriously. “And He will be the security and stability of your times, a treasure of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is your treasure.” (Is. 33:6 AMP) To truly worship God, we must let go of our self-worship. We must be willing to humble ourselves before God, surrender every part of our lives to His control, and adore Him for who He is, not just what He has done.
Worship is a lifestyle, not just an occasional activity. Jesus said: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (John 4:23).
In order to worship the Lord in spirit and truth, our hearts must be humble and clean. We should frequently ask the Lord to examine our hearts and show us any sin for which we need to repent. “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my heart and my mind.” (Ps. 26:2 AMP) We must prayerfully ask the Lord to show us the words we use.
Why is that important? Worship gets to the heart of who we are. Do our words glorify the Lord or show an unclean or hardened heart? Jesus said that our words we use tells us the condition of our hearts. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (Luke 6:45)
It is impossible to worship God and anything else at the same time (Luke 4:8). The physical acts often associated with worship—bowing, kneeling, lifting hands—help to create the necessary attitude of humility required for true worship, which is an attitude of the heart. A person can go through the outward motions and not be worshiping (Matthew 6:5-6). God sees the heart, and He desires and deserves sincere, heartfelt praise and worship.
When we fear the Lord–reverence Him and take Him seriously–we can worship and praise Him in spirit and truth. We can “offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name” (Heb. 13:15). To praise God even when things aren’t going well and we don’t understand His plan requires personal sacrifice. It takes an act of the will to lay our all on the altar before a God when we don’t understand. The “fruit” of lips is the natural outgrowth of the heart.
When we bring a “sacrifice of praise,” we choose to believe that, even though life is not going as we think it should, God is still good and can be trusted (Nahum 1:7). When we choose to visually and verbally praise God in spite of the storms, He is honored, and our faith grows deeper (Malachi 3:16-17).
Ask yourself, does the praise of God grow out like fruit on your lips continually? The command in Hebrews 13:15 says that this sacrifice is to be offered “continually.” Our praise of God is not to be based on our opinion of His job performance. Praise cannot be treated as a “reward” we give God for His obvious blessings. God isn’t honored or pleased with lip service. “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Is. 29:13) Real praise continues regardless of circumstances. It flows continually from a worshiping heart in good times and bad (Acts 16:23-25).
The “sacrifice of praise” comes from a humble heart that has been purified by fire. It rises from a spirit that has chosen to honor God in spite of the pain that life is causing. The psalmist expressed this idea when he said, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Ps. 51:16-17).
Let’s sing praises to the Lord as we reverentially worship Him in spirit and truth. Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold; Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old; Your love is enduring through the winter rain; And beyond the horizon with mercy for today. Faithful You have been and faithful you will be; You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing: Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips