Called to live, not to survive
When lifting voice, when lifting a shovel
Through thick and thin, in Christ abide
In rest, in work, in mansion or hovel
Living water springing up inside
Under roof, with God’s holy people
On a jobsite with dust and boards
On our knees alone, feeling feeble
Worship, living as the Lords
Rising up on wings like eagles
It is God’s view that we attain
In church, in prayer, in day to day
living subject to His name
It’s not the words we say, or pray
In Christ’s life do we remain?
Worship, filling, completing, expanding
Knowing, submitting, choosing His will
Dying to self, to our striving, attaining
His guiding purpose, life instilled
In our lives, the King is reigning

Joshua Cushman

The Three Types of Daily Worship

Worship is a term often misunderstood by Christian’s. Often it is understood as what we do on Sundays, or simply the acts of singing to God. We listen to worship music, and attend Churches that have an order of worship. Oftentimes this understanding keeps worship at arms length from our daily lives. We have made the mistake of restricting it to a time and place, or an act. Biblically, there are three distinct types of worship. Corporate worship, at Temple and synagogue, homes and city gates. Private worship, under the shade of trees, in prison cells, in palaces, in tents. Perhaps most importantly, there is the worship of a life well lived, in submission to God. Worshipers that swear to their own hurt and follow through. Who are submissive to masters, and take responsibility for their workers. Who can clean toilets with a smile, or direct a nation with humility. A lifestyle of worship is the product of internalized corporate and private worship. One could say that the three modes of worship are so intertwined and interlinked to often be nearly indistinguishable from one another in the life of a mature believer. It becomes hard to tell where one ends and another begins. Certainly there is a natural flow to our growth. It is in the corporate setting that we are introduced to the Bible, prayer, and our relationship with God and others. This then flows naturally into time spent alone, reading our Bibles, praying, meditation and rest focused on God. We then find that the Bible, our time in prayer, our relationship with God and with fellow travelers begins to permeate every aspect of our daily lives. Biblical worship is to choose God first in every area of our lives, in act and dead, in prayer and in song. To worship is to submit to His will, and to ascribe to Him the value, glory and honor he is eternally due.

Biblically, corporate worship is the place where we become a member of God’s holy, set apart, people. In teaching and exhortation, in song and in prayer, in our weeks, months and years. Our first observation in attending a Church for any length of time, is how messed up everyone else is. However, as we stick it out, we discover that perhaps we too may have some rough edges. Once we understand this, we begin to see God at work in the whole congregation. We see the reality, that God loves these people, that Jesus died for them, and that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives. In song, we lift our voices, a quire with one purpose, to submit to who He is and lift up His name. In exhortation, we and our fellow soldiers are put through boot camp, often painful, but all with a common goal, to follow Jesus. We learn to come alongside one another, to lift eachother up, to help one another over insurmountable obstacles. As we read and are taught the Bible together, we discover that the Bible was written, not just to me, but to us. We see that the believer sitting next to us has a perspective and an understanding of some passages that we do not, and vice versa. In this, we are encouraged to grow, and to internalize what we read. In the corporate setting, our calendar is bookended with Worship. 

Our private worship is where everything that we learned begins to become metabolized. We begin our day with a prayer and a verse. We thank God for our meals remembering that he is our provider. We tithe, submitting or finances to His provision. We sabbath, refusing to be slaves to work and money, choosing instead to trust God and his faithfull provision. As we read our BIble, as well as other books, our imagination is set on fire, set aflame as we ask the question, God, how should I live? We begin praying for coworkers, for bosses, for parents, and aunts and uncles and siblings, even the distant relatives of close friends. We pray for world leaders both the good and the tyrant. As we do this, we find we are not helpless. Whatever life throws at us we have access to the most high God, and Jesus as our advocate. We are a slave to no man, though we are a servant to all.

As our imagination grows, we begin to see that we are no longer merely occupations and responsibilities. We find that we have a vocation and a calling. Our work becomes a place of worship. We grow in our ability to do the menial with Joy, and the grand with humility. We see that whatever task we do, we are doing us unto the lord. In business dealings, we are honest. In communication, we are patient. We see the people around us as fellow creatures made in the image of the creator, and though we may find them infuriating, we ask God, what do you see in the person in front of me? We pray for them and behold, our perspective begins to change. At home, we begin to see our children and our spouse in the light of who God is. We serve one another, puting one another first and see the value that God placed in each one of us. It is often in work, and at home, not in church, that we have the opportunity to grow most in the mind of Christ. It is in the worship of lives lived in submission to Christ, that our hearts are made ready to receive more, both in corporate and private worship.

My point is this. Healthy, true worship, produces a lifestyle of worship. Look at the Bible, you will find that in every book that contains instruction for corporate worship, you will also find practical laws or instruction for how to live out the day to day. If we are to grow in maturity, the three modes of worship must become nearly indistinguishable to us. We will see how sabbath, worship, and righteousness are intended to permeate every area of our lives. Whatever our call may be. The Bible is full of people living lives of worship. shepherds, judges, kings, tax collectors, fishermen, diers of purple, tent makers, apostles, teachers, advisors, winners at beauty pageants, prophets, gleaners at the edges of fields, tanners, builders, musicians, historians, singers and carpenters. The number one thing they all have in common, is doing their work in submission to God. An act of worship in itself.

It concerns me when I hear people talk of a desire for revival as though we can get there through corporate worship, or private devotion. The gateway to revival is neither of these things. It is Holy living, worship that has permeated every area of our lives. Read the prophets, you will not find one telling the children of Israel to worship better or more. They all say, as though with one voice, live better, and choose to put God first in your whole life. Corporate, and private worship are the means to drench our lives with worship. It is the lifestyle of worship walked out that brings revival. It is possible to make Christianity popular through advertisement, performance based worship, and powerful oration, but unless holy living is produced it can hardly be called revival.

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