The Scope of Worship
Due to its nature, worship affects every area of life. Decisions are made on the basis of worship; priorities are set on the basis of worship; and sacrifices are made on behalf of whatever one worships. This means that with respect to idolatry, wrong worship will negatively affect every area of one’s life. Idolatry will lead to sinful life patterns. (1 Cor 10:7-14; Mk 7:14-23)
The proper worship of the Triune God of the bible is equally broad in its effect on one’s life. Proper worship will result in righteous life patterns (Matt 7:15-24). Furthermore, right worship is broad in its scope because it is a priority in the Kingdom of God—both in its current seed form and its eternal consummation.
Over the next few days I would like to spend some time talking about the topic of worship. Today I will begin by briefly defining what I mean by worship.
Definition of Worship
From a biblical perspective, to worship an object is to value that object above any other object. Anything—including self, material goods, status, God, etc.—can become the object of one’s worship. The object of one’s worship can and will fluctuate on a regular basis. In general one can identify what they are worshiping based on what they prioritize, and what they use their resources (i.e. money, time, energy) on. In other words, whatever a person worships will inevitably become the focus of that person’s life.
With this definition in mind, the bible identifies two kinds of worship: idolatry, and worship of the Triune God of the bible. Idolatry is, of course, the wrong kind of worship (Ex 20:3-5). The bible makes it clear that this kind of wrong worship is not limited strictly to the worship of man-made statues (Ezek 14:1-5). As it has often been said, an idol is whatever you are willing to sin order to get or whatever you sin over when you don’t get it.
In contrast, worship of the Triune God of the bible is not only the right kind of worship , but it is also the very purpose for which man was created. (Ps 86:9)