What Is Worship?

Our word for “worship” is derived from the Old English word worth-ship. Worship is a posture of the heart. It is an attitude of loyalty and trust toward the authority structures of your life. Ultimately, worship defines you, makes your life meaningful, and gives you security. Thus, we all worship something or someone. Typically, whatever we worship is our “non-negotiable.” It is that one thing, should we lose it or part with it, which would bring both devastation and hopelessness.

True worship occurs when we set our affections on God. Our affections are not merely emotions, but our motives – the things that drive us and that we truly treasure. If we do not worship God, we worship other finite things. We set our hearts on relationships, careers, money, accomplishments, approval, comfort, power control – deriving our meaning and sense of self-worth from them. When we worship God, we pull our affections off those things and set them on God.

How Do I Know I’ve Worshiped?

Ask yourself, “Has my mind grasped the truth? Has the truth touched my emotions? Has the truth led to a changed life?” If all three are not organically connected, worship may be an intellectual event, an emotional experience, or a volitional pressure – but none of these alone is worship.