Worship and Discipleship
Two aspects of our relationship with God don’t seem to go together and may even at odds is worship and discipleship.
Where do they fit together?
They are very important aspects of the Christian life.
Let’s address worship first.
This is how John Piper defines worship. “Worship is a way of gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of his worth. This cannot be done by mere acts of duty. It can be done only when spontaneous affections arise in the heart. These affections for God are an end in themselves.”
N. T. Wright said, “Worship is the glad shout of praise that arises to God the creator and God the rescuer from the creation that recognizes its maker, the creation that acknowledges the triumph of Jesus the Lamb. That is the worship that is going on in heaven, in God’s dimension, all the time. The question we ought to be asking is how best we might join in.”
So worship is reflecting happily back to God who God is. It is the glad shout for what God in Jesus has done and is doing for us. Worship is intimately tied into seeing Christianity as a love story. Worship is more than just singing hymns, praying, and gathering once a week in a building. Maybe we can and should praise God with our lives by being mindful, cultivating loving relationships, being kind to all we meet and to the places; we live and go, by being a living prayer, a living parable, a living sermon.
We haven’t been given this life to use, as we want to do whatever pleases us in the moment. We are to be images of God in the world; we are to be gifts of God to the world and to use our life to bless others all to the glory of Our Father in Heaven. Life is a gift, life is a miracle and if we don’t give it away, it will be taken away from us. Our life, like the life of Jesus is to be broken, blessed, and given away. We should live our lives as a living prayer to the God who wastes nothing, to the God of Jesus who lavishes boundless, intimate love and grace on all and calls us into relationship with the divine 3-in-1 dance.
German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonheoffer defines discipleship as “bondage to Jesus alone, completely breaking through every program, every ideal, every… law. Beside Jesus, nothing has significance. He alone matters.”
Michael Spencer said, “The command to follow requires that we take a daily journey in the company of other students. It demands that we be lifelong learners and that we commit to constant growth in spiritual maturity. Discipleship is a call to me, but it is a journey of we.”
A first step is letting go of the world and embracing Jesus, letting go of the things that keep us from walking in faith to and with Jesus. Following Jesus is a deep affection to his person, the grace that allows us to claim Jesus as our own shatters all bonds and prisons that keep us stuck in the smallness of the ego. Jesus disposes of the things that keep us shivering scared of the unknown. It’s only in responding to the call to be a disciple that we learn how to follow Jesus. It’s in the going that the going is possible. This is not abstract. It’s concrete. You must respond to Jesus in the present and continue to do so in order to truly have faith and stay in relationship with him.
We must constantly step towards Jesus.
I have learned that I must Surrender to God’s will for my life to trust that God is taking me somewhere that it will be for my good even if it’s not what I imagine or hope it to be. Even if or maybe I should say when I go through the valley of death, the darkest night and the most dangerous places that God will be with me and will see me through it. God will lead and guide me and when I am unable to walk, He will carry me until I can walk on my own.
Jesus didn’t stutter and we cannot hesitate.
Discipleship, the call to me leads to the call of we, worship.