What Does Biblical Worship Look Like?

In Psalm chapter four, the Psalmist says, “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.” From this small portion of Scripture, we learn great things about “how” we are to worship God.

It’s a voluntary effort

Here, God is not demanding that we offer love and devotion to Him; rather, He desires that we offer it freely. And we know that living a life of devotion is our “reasonable service” (see Romans 12:1). Our worship to God, whether in church on Sunday, or in our workplace–as evidenced by our diligence and ethics–on Monday, ought to be offered voluntarily and freely. God is not looking for compulsory worship that is mandatory. No, He wants the willing sacrifices of His children.

It’s a costly effort

What are we to offer? The Bible says we are to offer “sacrifices,” which conveys the idea of something that will cost us. Like the woman who worshiped the Lord with her alabaster box of costly ointment (see Luke 7:36-50), and the poor widow who cast her two mites in the offering (see Luke 21:1-4), our sacrifices to the Lord must cost us something. King David’s sentiments should be our own: How can we offer sacrifices to the Lord unless they cost us something? (See 2 Samuel 24:24-25.)

It’s important how it’s done

Our sacrifices to God, whether the songs we sing, the service in ministry, or the lives we lead and conversations we engage, must all be done in righteousness. As believers, we understand that our righteousness is not our own; anything of any good that we do is because of Christ. It’s clear that God has no time for sacrifices offered by those who themselves are engaged in continual sin. In fact, as 1st Samuel 15:22 teaches, God places a higher importance on obedience than worship.

Its acceptance depends on God alone

Here is the divine equation: “put your trust in the Lord.” Even though our worship is to be offered freely, should cost us something, and should be offered in righteousness, in the end, we must trust that God will accept our offering. Our whole lives we are forced to choose whether to trust God or distrust Him. Even after salvation, we are continually confronted with the reality that we must trust Him for the outcome. This should not cause anxiety or fear. God is trustworthy; He has proven it time and time again. In the end, there is nothing we can take credit for. We must acknowledge that we are fully dependent on God, and He will come through for us.

Worship is not just a few hours in church on Sunday. It involves everything we do in our lives, how we do it, and Who we are doing it for. It’s imperative that we get it right!