worship is not a lifestyle

14 10 2009

When I think about lifestyle I think about “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

Robin Leach

Lifestyle is “a way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes and values of a person or group.”[1]

Let’s think about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle since it’s probably easier to think about that than being rich for most people.

A healthy lifestyle means I’ll drink enough water, eat enough vegetables, fruits, and proteins and avoid junk food. But what about if I choose to play the bass guitar instead of the electric guitar? Is that a health choice?

Everything we do is not necessarily a health decision, though a lot of our choices impact our health.

Louis Giglio echoes what many say when he wrote, “Every day, all daylong, everywhere you go you worship.”[2] The argument is that our actions (our lifestyle) are a reflection of what we value and is worship.

My personal challenge to you is to find worship talked about as a lifestyle in Scripture. If you are fast you might mention 1 Corinthians 10:31. There is an important distinction that I will unpack in a later post: Paul is saying that in all we do we are to glorify God. He didn’t use the word worship.

In Genesis 24 we see worship as a conscious act. As the servant of Abraham saw God answer his request he responded with worship. Looking at every mention of “worship” in the Bible I could not find the idea of worship as a lifestyle.

I am not against worshiping throughout the day, but what I am saying is that everything we do is not some form of worship.

The servant of Abraham obeyed his master, which is proper obedience toward authority. It is an act of obedience that is God honoring, but it is not written of as an act of worship. The way he responded toward God after He revealed Rebekah was called worship.

We see worship is not a way of life or a style of living, but a specific act. The problem with saying we worship all daylong in everything we do is that the importance of our active choice loses significance.

There is no passive worship. We have to actively choose to worship God for who He is and what He has done.

[1] lifestyle. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lifestyle (accessed: July 20, 2009).
[2] Louis Gigilio, The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life. (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah, 2003), 11.


defining worship

22 07 2009

Many definitions have been developed about worship, but when I read them I would come up with objections. After spending years musing worship, a semester researching in independent study, and hours studying worship and associated ideas within the Bible I landed on key ideas.

intentional – I liked the idea of worship as a lifestyle, but worship seemed connected to purposed actions.
response – It is a reaction to something preexisting for what it is or has done.
admiration – The responses considered worship were not rooted in ill thoughts or feelings.
anything – Anything can be worshiped. It is not limited to living beings or physical objects, one can worship a concept.
perceived or real – False worship exists, therefore, truth does not have to move someone to worship.

A good definition must be restrictive yet not too rigid. This definition was developed to be applicable to biblical Christian worship as well as any other form. When I put these ideas together my definition is:

Worship is an intentional response in admiration toward anything for what it is or has done whether perceived or real.

This definition excludes the idea of worship as a lifestyle, but does not prevent worship from pervading a person’s life. It also limits what actions are worship as they must be done in admiration and not from other thoughts or emotions such as terror or melancholy. The definition also allows for worship to be a label given to actions toward false gods as well as the True God.

Each aspect plays a key roll in focusing what is labelled worship. An action cannot be put in a category of worship without discovering its underlying roots. The 4 of the 5 aspects focus are rooted in the worshiper and help define whether an action is worship or not. Another aspect that seems to limit worship is that it seems only  connected with humans, angels and other “spirit” beings. I didn’t know how to put that animals and inanimate objects can’t worship God according to what is shown in Scripture.

Though I studied worship a lot it still seems to have an elusive quality. Defining worship is a life long proposition.

Does this definition seem helpful? Did I miss an aspect about worship?