Worship comes from an old English word which means to ascribe worth to something. In the Bible the Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek words which we have translated in to “worship” mean to bow down before, to give ones whole self over to the thing worshiped.
A problem with modern Christianity is that the term “worship” brings to mind a musical genre, as does “praise”. But this mindset is very limiting and shallow; it may lead one away from understanding the full meaning of worship. Worship is an open ended action not limited to one specific definition such as music, serving, or thanksgiving. However, these things may be counted as worship they are not the only form. But all forms of worship may share common denominators.
Worship says “You (God) are Creator and I am created”.
Worship never exalts itself above anyone or above God. In fact Satan is believed to of been the head worshiper in Heaven, but apparently he got his definition of worship twisted because according to Isaiah 14, Satan tried to steal the throne of God for himself. True worship reminds you of your place, as a child of God, undeserving of mercy but blessed with grace. This is why worship is so important because it sets your identity straight and keeps you from drifting in to error about who you are or where you belong in relation to God.
Worship is not merely an internal belief but an external truth.
Many claim to love God, to serve Him, and to live for Him but are these merely statements of what that person believes or of what they actually do? Since worship is obedience and obedience isn’t obedience unless it happens outside of your brain than one cannot worship without living outwardly for God. What I mean is that worship is a lifestyle (which finds many outlets of expression) that cannot exist in your mind, it must be physically acted upon and visible from the outside. If you love God you will do what He says (John 14:15) not merely love Him in thought. Worship is proactive. Runners must run, cooks must cook, and worshipers by definition worship.
Worship requires sacrifice.
Because we humans have our own free will and God does not override that free will in order to accomplish His will we must set aside our own will in order to do God’s will. This is the very reason that many Christians do not worship God with their lifestyle, because they believe it requires too much of them. The more selfish a person is the more reluctant they will be to making personal sacrifice. Many diets try to appeal to people by claiming that the user won’t need to change how they eat. This is good to the selfish person because they don’t want the diet that requires them to sacrifice their favorite foods. When we encounter a struggle from within whether to serve God or not, it is simply because we are self centered in our lifestyle. This is why most peoples only worship of God is when they sing songs on Sunday; the songs make the singer feel good and spiritual and they don’t require any action or much personal sacrifice. The more we realize what God has done for us and the sacrifice that Jesus underwent the more we will center our life and actions around God’s will rather than our own. This will lead to us joyfully making sacrifices in order to serve the Kingdom of God.
There are many examples of worship in the Bible, the Apostles gave up their professions, comforts, and ultimately their lives for the call of the Gospel in the 1st century. The woman with the alabaster perfume used all her perfume, which cost her a years worth of income to buy, to honor Christ. She went against what the culture thought of as normal in order to express her love for the Lord. Abraham worshiped God with his willingness to personally sacrifice his own son despite that fact that Isaac was his promised son. But the ultimate example of worship unto God is that of Jesus Christ. Jesus laid down His life in every way for God’s will to be accomplished. In every way Jesus bowed before God and obeyed with his heart and his actions, this is worship.