Some words just beg for definition. When we use words like good or government or, for that matter, good government, we have to say what we mean.
The same is true for worship. Often when we use this word, we are referring to the songs we sing at the beginning of a church service. We often specifically refer to that as the worship time. The person who leads this is called the worship minister.
But we also use the word worship to refer to the entire gathering of the church. So, we call it the worship service. We’ll often try to highlight this by saying things like, “We now continue our worship through our offering time….”
But the word worship has a broader meaning, too — as when we talk about living a life of worship. This idea encompasses not just Sunday, but everyday — where worship is an approach, a stance, a way to live.
Which of the 3 usages of the word worship is correct? Well …. all of them. They all describe an element of worship that is important.
But the place to start, I believe, is with the third definition. If worship is about how I live; if it involves how I work and how I treat my family; if it encompasses who I sleep with (or don’t), what I watch (or don’t), what I say (or don’t) — then such a life of worship leads naturally to a time of worship. If I am already living a life of adoration and submission (a pretty good definition of worship I picked up somewhere), then I will naturally gather with others who are doing the same. And we will spend some time once a week (or more), adoring and submitting, together.
In other words, living a life of worship daily leads to expressing that worship weekly. And when I come together with God’s people, the focus isn’t me, or my preferences. It’s God, and what God has done. And it’s us, and what God is doing in us, as we come together, united, in worship.
So, my challenge to me, and to you, is simply this: Focus on the third definition of worship. Seek to make that your daily reality. Then the first 2 will come into clearer focus.