What we wear tells a lot about us. I’m a Carhartt kind of guy. Recently, one of the kids in our church saw me at a soccer game and said, “I knew it was you because you always wear the same thing!” Yes! Simple and functional would describe what I want to wear.
But let’s talk about our sports teams [uh oh, he’s meddling now]. Every August, a memo goes out and people start showing up everywhere in Seahawks gear. It’s like you all are part of the same tribe. You wear the same uniform…only to be disappointed in another dismal season. But we want to be part of them. We identify with our team by putting on their colors. We become part of them, and they become part of us [the 12th Man comes to mind!]. We put on our jerseys and walk around town strutting our stuff, high-fiving total strangers like we’re best buds.
Sometimes we are so into it that when our teams lose, we feel as though we have lost. When our team wins, we feel like winners. People’s weeks can be made or broken over their team’s successes and losses on the field. We get so into it and — you won’t like this — it really doesn’t matter all that much.
The Auca Indians of Ecuador have a term for getting excited about things that don’t matter very much: False Fire.
What do those who trust in Christ get excited about? What fills us with joy? What are we putting on? Worship is what the Christian wears! Let me explain what I mean. Read Isaiah 6:4, paying close attention to verse 4. Did you see it? We ‘put on’ the garment of praise. In the same way we wake up in the morning and decide what to wear for the day, we have to decide to put on the ‘garment of praise’.
So why do we worship? Why is worship an important part of our life together in ekklesia?
1] We are created to worship. All of creation is made to worship, but mankind especially is. “All the earth bows down to You; they sing the praises of Your name” [Psalm 66:4]. It ALL glorifies God, but we are created in God’s image. Our life is especially meant to honor God. All of creation — by its very existence — glorifies God, but we who are created in God’s image must choose to do so. That’s what makes our worship so special to the Father and why He ‘inhabits the praises of His people’.
Worship is THE place we were meant to be. It is the most-right thing we can do!
2] Worship affirms our loyalty & allegiance. What we run after is really our ‘god’. Our loyalty to God is not shown by Christian t-shirts, Jesus tattoos, really big Bibles, or witty bumper stickers. Our loyalty and allegiance to Jesus is demonstrated through our worship and obedience. “Let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, proclaiming our allegiance to His name” [Hebrews 13:15].
Worship identifies us as His.
3] Worship lifts us. In Isaiah 6:4, we see the exchange of ‘heaviness’ of life for a ‘garment of praise’. When we worship, the heaviness of life gets lifted. Did you know that our biochemistry respond to worship and prayer? It’s true. It’s as though our bodies were designed to respond to God in worship.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, has studied for over 20 years the affects of prayer on the human brain. He noticed in one study of a group of women praying together that the part of their brain that is associated with the self began to shut down as they prayed. This is phenomenal! As we become connected with God, the ‘me’ sort of goes away! As He increases, we decrease [John 3:30]. When Jesus becomes greater in m world and I become lesser in my world, my joy increases!
Worship of the Living God is what we were meant to do! It affirms the true loyalty of our heart, and we are restored through it.
I want us to be a worshipping community