by Pastor Tim Burt
The world is filled with dog lovers. In my childhood, we always had a dog in our family. My grandchildren loved theirs. My granddaughter sent me a picture of her painting her dog’s toenails while he lay perfectly still, letting her do so. No wonder dogs are so lovable. Like children, they are a great deal of work, but also, like little children, they have this incredible innocence. And the traits that most dog lovers universally love in dogs are the endless outpouring of love, loyalty, and bond with their masters.
In John chapter four, we read a story about Jesus encountering a Samaritan woman at a well. After engaging in conversation with Jesus, she knew that there was something special about Him. Supposing He was a prophet, she switched gears and began to seek answers to spiritual questions—one of them being, Where is the right place to worship God—our mountain or Jerusalem? Jesus told her that it would soon be understood that it wasn’t about worshiping God in a particular location but about worshipping God in our hearts—everywhere and all the time. He spoke these words: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4:23 NIV)
Learning to worship God has two effects on your life that are immeasurable. The first is that worship creates an intimacy in your relationship with God that can be more beautiful than anything you will ever experience on this earth. Secondly, it accelerates our personal life’s transformation helping us become more Christ-like.
What is worship, and how do we worship God? Countless sermons have been preached, and books written on this subject. Let me at least touch on the subject with the limited space I have here. The Holy Spirit will continue to help you if you ask Him to.
The word worship in the above verse is the Greek word proskyneo. It means to prostrate oneself in reverence and adoration. The picture that this word also paints is that of a dog licking his master’s hand and of a dog wagging its tail and whining for its master’s attention. This is a worthy picture of worship. Not that we are dogs in any sense, but in this way—understanding that dogs know their master. There is never any question about that. Dogs also seek the approval of their master. Dogs want to please their master. Dogs have an attitude of dependency upon their master. And dogs want to be loved by their master.
Whether you understand this or not, everything in the heavens and earth—any and all things that were created, were created by God to teach us about Himself. Everything was created to point us to God’s magnificence, supremacy, power, and majesty. Words simply cannot properly describe God’s greatness. But, from micro-organisms to nature around us to the stars and galaxies—they were all created to reveal not just science but insights to us about God that reveal His majesty!
Dogs actually help us understand what people often fail to acknowledge—that we all have a master. God is our God. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to help us know Him and His ways and to equip us to live our lives for Him. We worship Him because of who He is. We worship Him because of His love for us. We worship Him to acknowledge our need for His help and instruction, leading us in every thought, word, action, and facet of life.
When we’re willing to humble ourselves to this revelation and prostrate our hearts in worship of Him, something happens. Our heart begins to become properly aligned in humility and dependency for Him. The gift of His righteousness through Jesus cloaks our unworthiness and unrighteousness so that we can draw closer in thankfulness and appreciation. A closeness and intimacy begin to form within us that only causes us to hunger for more. As we draw closer, the strength to obey the leading of the Spirit of God increases, as does the strength of the spirit to resist temptation and refrain from fleshly activity surges. The word of God begins to open up to us as never before and deliver greater understanding and insight into things that remain mysteries to others. Transformation is accelerated because the desires and lust of sin lose their grip—repelling anything that might detract from our relationship with Him.
1 Chronicles. 16:28-30 (NLT) says, “O nations of the world, recognize the Lord, recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory He deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship Him. Worship the Lord in all His holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before Him.”
If you have never really tried or known how to worship the Lord, don’t let that hinder you. Don’t let the awkwardness of your initial efforts stop you. You were created to worship Him; it is within your DNA to worship the Lord. Greater intimacy is there for you to have. And remember… Jesus said that this is the time! “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4:23 NIV) There is a vast supply of beautiful worship music in any Christian bookstore or online to help you if you need help. Many churches today take praise and worship to an entirely new level. It will come easily and naturally in a very short period of time if you are sincere. Open up the Bible to the Psalms and read how David worshipped God. Launch from there, and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you; and in doing so, your life and intimacy with the Lord will never be the same!
Psalm 103:1 NKJV “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!“
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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