In this article
- 1 What is Acceptable Worship?
- 2 What is unacceptable Worship?
- 3 Acceptable and Unacceptable worship in the scripture
- 4 Ways to Worship God As Christians
Worship is the art of showing adoration or reverence to a supreme being. Worshipping God is accepting that he deserves all the praise and adoration. Christian worship goes beyond singing and dancing, true and acceptable worship involves allowing God to be in control of our lives and choices. We are created to show forth the glory of God and living a holy life is a form of worship. There are two types of worship and they are
- Acceptable Worship
- Unacceptable Worship
What is Acceptable Worship?
Acceptable worship is worship that is pleasing unto God. It is a form of worship that glorifies God and exalts him alone. God looks for worshippers who are willing to worship him in spirit and truth. God wants believers whose motive for worship is to truly exalt and honour him.
What is unacceptable Worship?
Unacceptable worship is worship that doesn’t glorify God. The end game of unacceptable worship is not to exalt God but to draw attention to one’s self. God never shares his glory with any man; he wants to be the centre of attraction of all we do. When an attempt to worship God doesn’t glorify God; it is an unacceptable worship.
Acceptable and Unacceptable worship in the scripture
The bible contains examples of acceptable and unacceptable worship that we can learn from. Each of these stories are very valuable for our Christian faith
Cain and Abel
The story of Cain and Abel is one of the stories that come to mind whenever there is a conversation about acceptable and unacceptable worship. I have heard many preachers preach about the reason why Cain’s offering was rejected but I believe Cain’s offering was rejected because of his thoughts and desires of his heart.
When God spoke to Cain after he rejected his offering, God never complained about the nature of the contents of his offering neither did God rebuke him for the quantity of his offering; rather God spoke about the state of his mind.
6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”Genesis 4:6-7
God considers our attitude before accepting or rejecting our worship.
9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?”
“I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”Genesis 4:9
Cain’s attitude is revealed in his response in Genesis 4:9. He wasn’t remorseful for killing his brother and he was not even afraid of facing God after he committed such a grave sin.
The woman with the Alabaster box
The story of the woman with the Alabaster box fascinates me. The story tells of a woman who poured an expensive perfume on Jesus, she also wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair. Everything she did was done with honesty and sincerity of heart, she wasn’t even concerned about what people around her will say or do. she poured her love for the master with her alabaster oil. A gesture that was well received by Jesus. I believe her worship was accepted because she worshipped with the whole of her heart. She was truly ready to give all she had without feeling ashamed.
The girl possessed by a demon
I love this story so much; there are many lessons in the story. Apart from discernment, it points out that God only accepts worship done with sincerity of heart. A certain girl who was possessed by a demon yelled after Paul and Silas that they are the sons of God, believe them. she was proclaiming that these disciples carry the power of God but she wasn’t doing it from a convinced heart. The demons in her were using this proclamation to direct attention to themselves. they wanted people to think they can truly see and predict the future but God wasn’t having any of that.
16 One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”
18 This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.Acts of Apostle 16:16 -18
Paul was able to discern by the Holy Spirit that she was possessed and the demon was sent out. I believe believers need the gift of discernment to know the difference between when God is speaking and when it is the devil. Her worship wasn’t accepted because she wasn’t truly worshipping God. Her heart wasn’t right with God; all the demons in her were doing was diverting attention to themselves. An act that won’t be accepted by God.
The offering of Solomon
There in front of the Tabernacle, Solomon went up to the bronze altar in the Lord’s presence and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on it.2 Chronicles 1:6
I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”2 Chronicles 1:12
After Solomon built the temple according to God’s instruction, he decided to worship God in a big way. Solomon sacrifices a thousand offerings unto the lord as an act of worship and thanksgiving. God saw the sincerity of his heart; the smell of the offering came up as a sweet-smelling savour. God accepted Solomon’s offering and blessed him with a gift he couldn’t have demanded.
The sacrifice of Saul
Now go and completely destroy[a] the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”1 Samuel 15:3
God instructed Saul through Samuel that he should destroy the Amalekites. The instruction of the lord was he should destroy everything in the town without exception. Saul followed this instruction but preserved the fattest animals under the pretext of sacrificing them to God.
Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.1 Samuel 15:9
After his victory over the Amalekites, he decided to offer a burnt offering unto God in appreciation for his victory. He decided to offer the sacrifice himself because he thought Samuel was taking too long (a decision that was wrong and against God’s instruction).
Samuel rebuked him for sacrificing the offering and for keeping the flocks that God told him to destroy. That was the reason God decided to remove Saul and place another king on the throne of Israel.
But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:1 Samuel 15:22-23
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,
and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.
So because you have rejected the command of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”
Many times a lot of us act like saul, we do the opposite of God’s instruction and we try to bribe God with the loot of our disobedience. God doesn’t accept such offerings; it is unacceptable to worship unto God. A relatable example is when people steal funds and donate the money to the church in their bid to appease God. God sees our hearts and he sees us even when we are alone.
Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22)
Abraham was a man of faith and he earned that title for nothing. God asked Abraham to sacrifice a child he waited for. Whenever I think about that story, I look at my children and wonder if I’ll be able to follow such instructions. I waited for four years before I had my first daughter; a very unpleasant experience. Abraham obeyed God without complaint or explanation. He was willing to do anything God commanded him to do. An act that made his sacrifice acceptable unto God.
Ways to Worship God As Christians
- Taking care of our bodies. Our body is the temple of the lord, and it is important we take care of our bodies as an act of sacrifice unto the lord.
- Live a holy life; we are admonished by the scriptures to live a holy life unto the lord. God loves holiness and it is impossible to please God without living a holy life.
- Singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. God loves when people sing praises unto him. He dwells in the praises of his people.
- Serving others; Jesus showed us this example by serving his disciples and also washing their feet. Service is an important way we can worship God.
- Loving others; Jesus commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves. He wants us to worship him by showing others the love we have received.
- Meditation and quiet time; spend quality time meditation and studying the word of God.
- Prayer; prayer is worship. We communicate with God through prayer; an act that transforms us.
- Love yourself: God wants us to love ourselves as much as we love others.
- Using our resources for his glory: time we use our gifts, talents and resource to glorify God, God is exalted.
The state of our hearts and the intention of our worship matters to God. God loves people who will worship him with a broken and contrite heart. He seeks worshippers who love to glorify his name every day and every time. Worship is a lifestyle, God created us to give glory to him. When we glorify God with the whole of our hearts, our worship will be accepted by God.