Do you enjoy worshiping God? We worship in the Assembly. Do we worship outside of the Assembly? Is worship entertaining? Must worship be made entertaining or can the simple worship of the New Testament suffice? Should Christians be joyous in worship or can there be sorrow? “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25, ESV).
Now sometimes we mourn. Sometimes we mourn with those mourning. But, we can still have joy in tribulation. Paul writes, “I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy” (2 Corinthians 7:4, ESV). Can you have joy in affliction? Apparently so, Paul did. We may not be cheerful, but we can be joyous. “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2, ESV). That’s amazing that anyone can have such joy in a “severe test of affliction”. They also had an “abundance of joy” with “their extreme poverty”. Do you see the contrast between abundance and poverty? Add to this that they “overflowed in a wealth of generosity”. Where is our wealth of generosity? We think we’re spiritually strong. Do we have joy in tribulation? If some have joy in affliction, why can’t we have joy in worship?
Must we have the right spirit in worship? “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also” (1 Corinthians 14:15, ESV).Paul is not talking solely about himself.Paul was stressing the mind and intellect here since these Christians did have a good spirit.”But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24,ESV).Let’s not consider worshiping God as just in truth but also in spirit. Our hearts and spirits must be right. Are you a true worshiper? Are you “the true worshiper” that God desires? We must have the right spirit in worship.
What kinds of spirit should we have before God? “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let Him sing praise” (James 5:13, ESV). Can you relate with this passage? Usually when we suffer we go to prayer, but how many Christians praise God when we’re cheerful?
What does God love? He loves a cheerful giver. “Each one must give as he has made his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7, ESV). How is giving to be done? Give with a cheerful heart. Is giving an act of worship? Worship is the act of giving to God. One of the Greek words for worship is proskuneo, which means “to give a token toward”. We have got to think of worship as giving to God and not receiving for ourselves. Does this mean that we must constantly smile when we give to the church collection? Should a Christian give when he or she doesn’t want to? Do you desire to give to God? Do you desire to worship God? Since Christians are to give their lives to God and give to God every day of the week, then should we consider worship in the Assembly to be the pinnacle of giving our time to God? Cheer is a kind of spirit for worship, but what about the Lord’s Supper? Can we really call that a cheerful act of worship?It should certainly be a joyous act of worship.
Will a Christian be enriched when he or she has been generous in giving? Certainly, yes. “You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11, ESV). So, we do get something out of giving to God. Also know that giving abounds through thanksgiving. “For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:12, ESV). We worship because we are thankful not just because we are commanded to worship Him. Worship is a command, but we have the choice to follow God’s command to worship. What is God’s gift to us that causes us to be thankful? It’s His grace. “While they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:14-15, ESV). Worship with thanksgiving and worship with joy.
If we’re going to worship God with joy in or out of the Assembly, then we must have a state of mind for rejoicing. How can we rejoice when we’re anxious? How can we worship with joy in a life of worry?
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV)
If we rejoice in the Lord, are we not worshiping the Lord? Do we rejoice always? When you are at home, when you go to work, will you rejoice in the Lord always? Look again at the passage, do we pray with thanksgiving? Joy and thanksgiving come together in the Scriptures. One example is “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God,” (1 Thessalonians 3:9, ESV). The thankful Christian is a joyful Christian. We have a promise of God here. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” By this promise from prayer, we can rejoice in the Lord always.
What do Christians have to rejoice over? Be reminded and exhorted that we rejoice because of Christ and His salvation that He has given us.”Though you have not seen Him [Christ], you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9, ESV).By love, Christians rejoice over the Truth.”It [love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6, ESV). We rejoice in the Gospel that has been revealed to us. Is joy a part of God’s purpose of the Church? “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17, ESV).Yes, joy is a part of the Christian life for it is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, ESV).
The words of the Psalms encourage us to worship with joy. “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11, ESV).”Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” (Psalm 95:1-2, ESV). “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” (Psalm 98:4).
We must see our reflection in the Word of God. What gives you the most joy in worshiping God? Do you worship with the right spirit? Has worship become a burden to you? Can you show joy to God when you are worrying constantly? Is joy something you think of when you have the opportunity to worship?
May God bless those who read.