As Christians, we often use Worship and praise interchangeably. In the Bible, however, we find commandments to worship God and commandments to praise God. These two are not the same.
First let’s talk about praising God. In the very last verse of the book of Psalms, we find the words, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). Praising God is akin to offering thanksgiving to Him. Praising God is characterized by joyful or celebratory expressions of His goodness that He has shown toward us.
I love to hear and sing songs of praise during public worship gatherings. The words to these songs exalt the Lord’s amazing goodness toward us. As I sing, I can meditate on the words to the songs. They strike serious chemistry with my inner being because I can relate to what I am singing about. I love the joyful noise we make when the people of God praise Him through singing and instruments.
Of course, we don’t have to wait until we go to the house of God to praise Him. We can praise God without music. We can praise Him at home or anywhere. In fact, I believe spontaneous praise is the most genuine kind of praise we can offer the Lord.
Now let’s talk about worshipping God. According to the verse quoted above, everything that has breath should praise the Lord. The point is that you don’t have to be a Christian or even a religious person to praise God. Anyone with the breath of life and who acknowledges God’s goodness in his or her life as praiseworthy can offer praises to God.
But worshipping God requires interacting with Him on a more intimate level. According to Jesus, those who worship God “must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). First, let’s consider the word worship that Jesus uses here. It is the word “προσ-κυνεω (pros-koo-NE-oh), meaning to bow down or to prostrate oneself to. So worship denotes acts of reverence to God. And Jesus said we must do them in spirit and in truth.
Most local Christian churches refer to their weekly public gathering as a worship service or gathering. And generally speaking, any assembly dedicated to showing reverence to God can be called a worship gathering. But remember, God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. So consider the following:
- Those who come to worship God but who reject His Son are not worshiping Him in spirit and truth because to reject the Son is to reject the Father.
- Those who come to worship God but who do not acknowledge Him as the God of their personal life are not worshiping Him in spirit and truth because in effect they don’t reverence Him as God.
- Those who choose to shut down or become a busy-body when the ministry of the Word is being ministered are not worshiping God in spirit and in truth because to disregard the Word of God is to reject God speaking to us.
Finally, there is a difference between praise songs and worship songs. The resounding theme of worship music–as distinguished from praise music–should be that we were created for God’s pleasure and not for our own. Wholesome worship gatherings include occasions for praise AND for worship. In the Scriptures, we are commanded to worship God AND to praise God.
Copyright © 2018 by Frank King. All rights reserved.
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