Tonight I’m finishing a series of meetings at the Rose Hill Church in Monticello, Arkansas, were Dr. David Ponder is pastor. He and his wife, Valerie, who are former members of my church in Nashville, have been wonderful hosts, and I’ve been so impressed by the warmth of the Rose Hill congregation. My final message is one I preached at Donelson and posted several weeks ago from Revelation 4 and 5, on the subject of worship.
Think of worship as the gyroscope of the soul.
When I was a boy, my father always brought me back something from his trips; and on one occasion, he pulled from his suitcase a gyroscope, a toy made of circular metal frames that were essentially wheels within a wheel (like the wheels in Ezekiel 1). It had a pull string and a pedestal, and the outer circle spun around the inner circle, creating a smooth stabilizing action that allowed the gyroscope to maintain its balance.
I didn’t realize it then, but my toy gyroscope was modeled after an invention developed in the 1800s, which was patterned on the rotation of the earth. Still today, a typical airplane uses about a dozen gyroscopes to keep its orientation. They’re also found on the space shuttles, the Russian Mir space station, and the Hubble Space Telescope. A gyroscope inside a ship or an aircraft gives it stability and direction. It keeps it even-keeled in storms or turbulent weather.
The habit or worship is the gyroscope inside us. A person without worship is like a ship or plane without stabilization or direction. When we worship, we’re aligning our minds to God’s truth, our imaginations to God’s glory, our emotions to God’s stability, and our souls to God’s songs. It keeps us balanced and steady.
A.W. Tozer said, “Without worship, we go about miserable.”
The Scottish theologian, Sinclair Ferguson, suggested that worship is, essentially, the reversal of sin. Sin is when we make ourselves the center of the universe and dethrone God. “By contrast,” said Ferguson, “worship is giving God His true worth.”
The Anglican Archbishop William Temple wrote:
Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, nourishment of mind by His truth, purifying of imagination by His beauty, opening of the heart to His love, and submission of will to his purpose.
Here are some tips to worshipping better:
- Make worship and praise a part of your quiet time each day. Include the verse of a hymn and/or a period of true thanksgiving in your morning devotional routine.
- Learn to visualize the throne of God above you, as described in Exodus 17, Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, and Revelation 4, 5, and 22.
- Don’t worry about worship “styles.” Whatever the style, keep your eyes on the Lord. Never say, “I didn’t like that hymn,” or “I wish we wouldn’t sing those praise songs.” It’s not about our favorite styles; it’s about forgetting our own preferences and focusing on Him .
- Train yourself to concentrate on the words of the hymns and prayers during church services. Don’t let yourself sing mindlessly or aimlessly.
- Learn to say, “Thank you, Lord,” whenever you see a beautiful cloud formation, a lovely cluster of plants, or whenever something good or bad happens. Take it right to the Lord in praise.
- Serve the Lord with joy. To quote Tozer again: “We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second.”