What Does It Mean to Worship?

Worship is considered one of the tenets of Christianity. It’s talked about in our circles with the expectation that every member of the body of Christ is good at it. But have you ever found yourself asking what does it mean to worship? Maybe you’ve thought about why we worship God? Or, more specifically, why we worship Jesus? Revelation 4:11 has a lot to say about why we should worship God and we’ll talk about that a little after we understand what it means to worship.

What does it mean to worship

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What Does It Mean to Worship?

Worship is giving God the honor and glory due to Him. We do this by praising Him not only for what He has done but for who He is. We do this through our obedience and willingness to as He has commanded. We do this by living lives which testify of Him.

Importance of Worshipping God

Why is it so important to worship God? Does God need our worship? In a word, no. God doesn’t need anything from us. Our adulation of God is for our benefit.

We were created for fellowship and relationship with Him. And so, each of us has a desire—a craving—to be connected with God. I like to call it our “God-slot”. There is a place in everyone that can only be satisfied when we have an intimate connection with God.

We can try to fill it with other things—sex, drugs, food, the pursuit of happiness and things of the world—but we are only complete in Christ.

The Context of Revelation 4:11

“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:11 NKJV)

In John’s vision, he was given a glimpse of the throne room of heaven. Around the throne of God were four living creatures, the likes of which mankind has never seen. They were full of eyes in front and in back. They each had six wings, were full of eyes around and within.

These creatures never rest day or night because they are constantly showing reverence to the Most High God (Revelation 4:6, 8)”. They spend their days and nights saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8 NKJV)

Digging Into Revelation 4:11

Thou art worthy 514, O Lord, to receive glory 1391 and honour 5092 and power 1411: for thou hast created 2936 all things, and for thy pleasure 2307 they are and were created (Revelation 4:11 KJV).

Strong’s Definitions

Let’s look at some Strong’s definitions before we go further:

Worthy: áxios, (pronounced ax’-ee-os) deserving, comparable or suitable (as if drawing praise), due reward, meet, (un-)worthy.

Glory: dóxa, (pronounced dox’-ah) glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (literal or figurative, objective or subjective), dignity, glory(-ious), honour, praise, worship.

Honor: timḗ, (pronounced tee-may’) a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself, honour, precious, price, some.

Power: dýnamis, (pronounced doo’-nam-is) force (literally or figuratively); especially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself), ability, abundance, meaning, might(-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle(-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

Created: ktízō, (pronounced ktid’-zo) to fabricate, i.e. found (form originally), create, Creator, make.

Pleasure: thélēma, (pronounced thel’-ay-mah) a determination (properly, the thing), i.e. (actively) choice (especially, purpose, decree; abstractly, volition) or (passively) inclination, desire, pleasure, will.

An expansion of the verse may look like this:

You are worthy (deserving and suitable), O Lord, to receive glory (praise, worship) and honor (esteem, dignity, valuables) and power (strength, ability, abundance) for you have made all things and for your pleasure (purpose, choice, determination, will) they are and were created.

How Revelation 4:11 Applies to Us

The creatures in heaven worship God. Day and night. They praise His name. They bow down before Him. They acknowledge Him as Creator. They are never too busy to give God glory. They are never too tired to give praise. They worship and give honor and glory. Day and night. No excuses.

Worship and praise and honor and glory belong to God. Even if human beings never worship Him–all praise and honor belong to Him.

But God loves us and wants to save us and so He shows us this example of true worship. He wants us to practice reverence to Him on earth because there is, and will be worship in heaven.

Why We Revere God

We’re going to worship someone or something because we were designed for worship. But we choose to revere God because He alone is deserving of our worship. We worship Him because He is holy, wonderful, good, unchanging, unchangeable, unbiased.

We worship Him because He made us and without Him, we are nothing—absolutely nothing.

How Do We Worship God?

By kneeling before God: In Psalm 95:5, we are encouraged to bow down before God and to kneel before Him. But this wasn’t just a physical state. It was an act of reverence and praise. It was an acknowledgment that God is worthy of being worshipped and submission of one’s life before Him.

By the condition of our hearts: John 4:24 says we should worship God in spirit and truth. Worship is not something external. Oh, we may have physical signs of adoration like the raising of our hands or the words that we say. But ultimately worship is a condition of the heart.

Through service: We worship the Lord when we serve Him (Luke 4:8). Each of us is given many gifts and talents, but how do we use them? Do we use them in the service of God? Or, of ourselves? We have the ability to use our gifts for God and to use them to serve others.

Related: Guide for Using Spiritual Gifts to Serve Others

Through our words: What we say can be an expression of praise and worship to God. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34) and when our hearts are filled with appreciation for what God has done and who He is, we will express it in words and singing.

We need to examine our hearts: what’s preventing us from worshiping the Creator with all our hearts today?

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