Why Should We Worship God?
Why should we worship God? That is a good question, not to be dismissed quickly or ignored. Billions around the world worship some deity. Others do not. Among atheists there is a growing number who question the rationale (and sanity) of God-worshipers: “What kind of self-serving, egotistical God,” they ask, “would demand people to grovel at his feet?” Such an understanding of God and of worship demonstrates an ignorance of the true God and true worship. Worship is an appropriate, humbling-but-not-humiliating response to the nature and character of God himself.
So, why should we worship God?
God Is Worthy of Worship
First, we should worship God because he is worthy of worship. The Bible says God is “worthy... to receive the glory and the honor and the power” (Revelation 4:11). The word worthy (Gr axios) conveys the idea of “deserving,” indicating that God deserves worship. Moreover, a similar statement is made concerning Jesus, acknowledging that he is “worthy... to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise” (Revelation 5:12).
But the Bible also explains why God is worthy. He is worthy of worship “because [he] created all things and because of [his] will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11). The creative and providential power of God makes him praiseworthy (see also Revelation 14:7). Furthermore, he (Jesus) is worthy of our worship because he is “the slain lamb,” a description that highlights his saving power (Revelation 5:12). The creation, providence, and salvation of God—along with his manifold divine qualities—make him deserving of praise.
It is not surprising, then, that the Bible affirms that glory is associated with the name of God and calls for praise of that name (see Psalm 29:2; 99:3; 100:4). Most translators rightly interpret phrases like “the glory of his name” as “the glory due his name. The name of God is representative of the totality of his person (i.e., attributes, character, deeds). Worship, therefore, is praise of who God is and what he does. God is indeed worthy of our worship.
All Creation Was Made to Worship God
Second, we should worship God because all creation was made to worship God. The Bible reveals that “by him all things were created, things in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and invisible things... all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). God created all things for his purposes to his glory (see Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). We, along with the rest of creation, were made to glorify God.
Yet, our worship of God is unique; unlike the physical creation, we are given the choice to glorify God. We have been made in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26–27). Thus, our worship moves beyond the instinctual, unconscious praise of the cosmos (see Psalm 19:1; 148:1–14). Our worship is not simply external but internal as well, engaging the spirit (see John 4:23–24).
When we worship God, we fulfill his purpose for us—which is the only way we can find true, personal fulfillment. The Bible reveals that we have been specially created by God for his glory to declare his praise (see Isaiah 43:6–7, 21). And the New Testament pointedly explains that “[we] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [his] possession, so that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of the one who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). This is summarized well by Anglican John Stott: “Our greatest claim to nobility is our created capacity to know God, to be in personal relationship with him, to love him and to worship him. Indeed, we are most truly human when we are on our knees before our creator.”
Worship Expresses Our Love for God
Third, we should worship God because worship expresses our love for God. The greatest commandment in the Bible, according to Jesus, is “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength” (Mark 12:30; see Deuteronomy 6:5). Our love for God is an “affectionate reverence,” a description that overlaps with that of worship (Thayer). When we love God, we will express that love in worship.
But why should we love God? First, because he does “great and awesome things” for us (Deuteronomy 10:21–11:1). Because he listens to us (see Psalm 116:1–2). Because he protects and sustains us (see Psalm 31:23; 145:20). Because he tests us (see Deuteronomy 13:1–4; Romans 8:28). And, most importantly, because he loved us first and because he continues to love us with unending love (see 1 John 4:19; Exodus 20:5–6; Deuteronomy 7:9–10). Will we love him in return?
We demonstrate our love for God through worship, and worship is accomplished in a variety of ways. We worship when we make decisions to sacrifice ourselves, consciously choosing good instead of evil (see Romans 12:1). Worship also includes personal and collective expressions of praise (e.g., prayer, singing). For instance, we express our love for God, echoing the worshipers of times past, with simple statements like “I love you, LORD!” (Psalm 18:1). Love motivates worship.
Worship Is a Foretaste of Eternity
Fourth, we should worship God because worship is a foretaste of eternity. Throughout the Bible, heaven is pictured as a place of worship. As early as Jacob’s otherworldly encounter at Bethel, we see that the heavenly residents continually serve God (see Genesis 28:11–17). The association of worship with heaven does not stop there, however; the rest of the Bible makes this even clearer. The tabernacle and the temple are representatives of the true habitation of God and are, accordingly, described as places of worship (see Hebrews 9:8–11). Moreover, in many prophetic visions the angelic beings are represented as worshiping God always (see Isaiah 6:1–3; Revelation 4:8–11). Heaven is a place of worship.
Like the physical tabernacle and temple before it, the New Testament reveals that the Christian and the church are spiritual types of the ultimate reality of heaven, they themselves being the house of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Ephesians 2:19–22; Revelation 21:2–3). Individually and collectively, therefore, we should desire to worship, because this is a preview of heaven itself.
If we do not desire to worship God now, we won’t desire it then—and we will never have the opportunity. A. W. Tozer was correct when he said, “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored or turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” Are we ready?
Why should we worship God? Because he is worthy. Because we were created to worship him. Because we love him. Because worship is a foretaste of heaven. Do these reasons motivate us to worship God? If so, we should do so daily as individuals and regularly as the church. We should worship God. Will you?
Article originally published in Grow Magazine.