Worship is the celebration of being in covenant fellowship with a sovereign and holy Lord God, by means of the expressed commitment of trust and obedience of the covenantal responsibilities, the spontaneous praise and adoration of His Person and work, the memorial reenactment of entering into covenant through sacrificial atonement, with the confident anticipation of the fulfillment of His covenant promises.
—Allen P. Ross, Recovering the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation, 67-68
It’s a lifestyle.
It’s how we live each moment of every day—captivated by the awareness of God’s presence.
It’s making choices to bring Him pleasure and honor.
It’s refusing to allow the struggles in life to consume us, but rather to seek contentment in every situation.
It’s kneeling before a holy God to praise Him,
For it is only there that we forget ourselves and find rest in His loving arms.
—Deborah Lee Lucero
I’m going to give you a definition of the word worship as I shall use it. You’ll not find this definition anywhere because I made it myself. After Webster’s done the best he can for you, then a good thinker ought to make his own definition. If you don’t define, you won’t be understood; if you define too much you won’t be listened to, because there isn’t anything so boring as a preacher who gets up and gives you a lecture on Webster; but if you don’t define enough people won’t know what you mean. You’ll be talking about one thing and your audience will be hearing something else, and you may not mean the same thing at all.
I want to define worship, and here is where I want to be dogmatic. Worship means “to feel in the heart”; that’s first—feel it in the heart. Now I happen to belong to that segment of the Church of Christ on earth that is not afraid of the word “feeling.” We went through a long deep-freeze period at the turn of the century, when people talked about “naked faith.” They wanted to hang us out there like a coonskin drying on the door. And so they said, “Now, don’t believe in feeling, brother; we don’t believe in feeling. The only man who went by feeling was led astray; that was Isaac when he felt Jacob’s arms and thought it was Esau.” But they forgot the woman who felt in her body that she was healed! Remember that? A person that merely goes through the form and doesn’t feel anything is not worshiping.
Worship also means to “express in some appropriate manner” what you feel. Now, expressing in some appropriate manner doesn’t mean that we always all express it in the same way all the time. And it doesn’t mean that you will always express your worship in the same manner. But it does mean that it will be expressed in some manner.
And what will be expressed? “A humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder.” It is delightful to worship God, but it is also a humbling thing; and the man who has not been humbled in the presence of God will never be a worshiper of God at all. He may be a church member who keeps the rules and obeys the discipline, and who tithes and goes to conference, but he’ll never be a worshiper unless he is deeply humbled. “A humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe.” There’s an awesomeness about God which is missing in our day altogether; there’s little sense of admiring awe in the Church of Christ these days.
—A. W. Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel in the Evangelical Church
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His Name!
Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father.
—James B. Torrance, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace, 30
Worship is the expression of a relationship in which God the Father reveals Himself and His love in Christ, and by His Holy Spirit administers grace, to which we respond in faith, gratitude, and obedience.
—Robert Shaper, In His Presence: Appreciating Your Worship Tradition, 15-16
Worship in the Bible is the due response of rational creatures to the self-revelation of their Creator. It is an honoring and glorifying of God by gratefully offering back to Him all the good gifts, and all the knowledge of his greatness and gracious-ness, that He has given. It involves praising Him for what He is, thanking Him for what He has done, desiring Him to get Himself more glory by further acts of mercy, judgment, and power, and trusting Him with our concern for our own and others’ well-being. . . . As worship will be central in heaven (Rev 4:8-11, 5:9-14), so it must be central in the life of the church on earth, and it should already be the main activity, both private and corporate, in each believer’s life (Col 3:17).
—J. I. Packer, Concise Theology, 98-99