One huge area of ignorance among believers is the lack of understanding of the words “praise” and “worship”. Although often used interchangeably, they differ greatly in their compositions and implications. Having a deepened knowledge of these acts will bring us to a place of revelation in offering unto God the right meal composed of the right set of ingredients at specific times, seasons and circumstances.
Contrary to the circulated belief in the body of Christ, praise and worship is not defined in the tempo of the music (slow beat – worship, fast beat – praise), although praise songs usually come with a fast tempo and worship songs in slow. They are far away deeper to be summarized as such.
Since the word of God is our basis for all things, let’s take a look at the scriptures to see what God’s view of these acts is. Hebrews 13:15 says “By Him therefore, let us offer our sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name”. This scripture clearly showed us that praise simply means “fruit of our lips and giving of thanks to His name”. This further explains to us that praise comes from our lips and not the deep of us and that we do it because of what God has done (giving thanks) or what we want him to do.
Praise is a joyful recount of what the Lord has done for us and it does not require anything of us. It is just a truthful acknowledgement of the acts of God (Psalm 18:3). Even stones can praise (Luke 19:40). The fact that the scriptures say “let everything that is living can praise God regardless of whether they are Christians or not but not everybody can worship because worship is deeper, praise is lips in contact with The Spirit (God), so it is not deep but worship is spirit (man) in contact with The Spirit (God). It is deeper. “The deep of man calling unto the deep of God”. But the fact that praise is from our lips does not make it nonspiritual because the scriptures say the Lord inhabits the praise of His children and every true child of God must adopt the act of praise.
Worship on the other hand is weightier in its composition and result. When we praise we receive the blessings of God, but when we worship, we carry the presence of God. Worship is from the Greek words (Latreuo and Proskumeo) which mean “To serve, to render religious service or homage” (Latreuo) and “to make obeisance, do reverence to” (Proskuneo). This shows that worship is more that a song. Worship is also defined by how our lives as Christians serve, make obeisance to and reverence God if it were to be defined by our songs, the scripture would not have said in Romans 12:1 that presenting our bodies holy and acceptable unto God is our spiritual act of worship.
Praise is for the majority but worship is for a selected few. Praise is common but worship is uncommon. Praisers are abundant but worshipers are scare and that is why the scriptures say in john 4:23 that the Father “seeks” a worshiper, why not a praiser? The Father seeks because it is easier to praise than to worship. Like Jim Barringer a song writer said “worship is not just something you do on Sunday morning when music is playing, worship should be everything that happened in your decisions from Monday to Sunday”.
We worship by our spirit through the knowledge on the word of God in our mind and demonstrating in our body (lifting hands, kneeling, bowing down, singing, attitudes, character, behavior etc). Worship is taking focus off self and placing focus on God. We worship God for who God is whether or not he does anything for us or He promised to do something. We just choose to focus on His person and not his acts to us, and that is why it is harder to worship. The natural man counts it foolishness to acknowledge God when he has not done anything. He can not comprehend why we must worship.
Worship is an attitude of the heart and out mind must not wander in worship. To convey true worship to the Father, we must be totally absent to self or the physical so that we can reach out to the spiritual. Apostle Paul said “to be absent to in the body is to be present with God”. Although this later really means death, but it does reveals true worship.
God is Spirit and his worshipers must worship Him in spirit and truth (John 1:24). The scriptures clearly tell us that without spirit and truth which is the vehicle of worship, we cannot successfully worship God. What then does the scripture mean by spirit and truth? In spirit, means that our own spirit must be in contact with the Spirit of God for us to worship. The word of God also tells us that “the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord”. This explains to us that the primary means of communication between us and the Father is not through our body or mind but through our spirit although the three must be involved in worship (spirit, mind and body) but it is our spirit that connects. Therefore, for us to reach out to the heart (Spirit) of the Father, worship must well out of our hearts (spirit).
“In the truth”, John 14:16a says “I am the way, ant the truth and the life”. This gives us the understanding that Jesus is the truth, if Jesus is the truth and the Bible also says “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” John 1:14, which was referring in the person of Jesus, is the word and the word is also Jesus. Now we understand that for us to worship, we must have a relationship with Jesus who is also the word of God as not only that our spirit must have a link with God for them to connect.
Therefore, I will say this to conclude; those whose spirit can not connect with God and does who don’t have a relationship with Jesus and His words can only make disturbing noise but CAN NEVER WORSHIP.
P.S: this article was sent in by ‘Tayo Alao, she is the current Music Director of the Redeemed Christian Corpers’ Fellowship, Abia State Chapter