As Christians, one of our great goals is to grow in faith and in our relationship with God. We desire to have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him. It is also our desire to widen our wisdom and understanding of Him and His Word.
However, knowing our goals and desires in our journey with God is just part of the equation. We are to know and come to an understanding of how to grow. To answer this, we would probably say by studying the Scripture, by spending time in prayer, or by walking by faith. These are biblically correct, but one of the primary aspects of our Christian growth is by learning how to become a worshipper. Being a worshipper moves us closer to God by giving Him all the glory. This then translates to our growth as believers of His.
The Scripture does not run out of books, chapters, and verses to describe worship; and when we look at Psalm 96, we can learn that worship usually follows after praise.
“For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.’’ Psalm 96:4-9
Although praise and worship almost always come together in the Scripture, they are different and they follow a specific order—worship comes after praise. This order can be found throughout the Psalms, and it is important that they need to be appreciated and comprehended individually. There’s a number of areas of contrast, and the primary are motivation, thrust, and source of inspiration.
Motivation of Worship
Praise is our joyful response to God for what He has done for us. Very often when we praise God, we’re usually concerned with our blessings. Although we approach Him enthusiastically when we praise, we’re taking a step back because we are coming to Him to receive something.
Praise gets us into God’s presence, and once we’re in it, we’re supposed to move to worship as we read in Psalm 96:4-9. But most of us never come into fully worshipping God because when we get into His presence and feel His anointing, our recipient mindset kicks in—we then want Him to bless us. The motivation of our response to Him transforms to receiving.
Praise is biblical and spiritual, but if we want to be on the higher level of praising God, we should not revert back to asking Him of things when we come into His presence. Instead of stepping backward from our praise into the petition of prayer, we are to step forward into worship.
In worship, we are not coming to God to receive blessings. Our motivation for worship is to give something to God. We give Him loving recognition and appreciation for who He is. In worship, we are basically coming to Him to know His personage. True worship will always give glory to God.
The motivation to praise is to get a blessing, while the motivation to worship is to give God something.
Thrust of Worship
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100
There’s something in worship that can thrust us into the holiest of the holy place of God that praise doesn’t have. In Psalm 100, we read that praise takes us into the courts of God. It may be radical to say that it is impossible for praise to take us past the courtroom, but it is in the Scripture and God’s Word is our only basis of truth.
God’s ways and thoughts are ways above and different than ours. They are deeper and wider than the earth and heavens can ever be. We must recognize that only the power of worship can bring us into the slightest revelation of the Holy Ghost and the Heavenly Father.
Worship comes before praise and only when we go from praise to worship that we can see, by the light of the Holy Spirit, the revelation of God’s wisdom. That is where the thrust of worship takes us.
Source of Inspiration
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23
Our true worship will be on display when we worship God in spirit and in truth. Worshipping God this way allows us to have a relationship with Him where we can reach out and touch Him. This can never be done by praise; because in praising, we are only in His courtyards. We can be in His presence but we cannot see the revelations of His truth—which only happens when we touch Him through worship.
The Holy Spirit is a resident in our spirit, and it follows that worship can only come from our spirit as well. While praise originates in our soul, mind, will, and emotion, our worship originates from the spirit. This differentiates the inspiration of praising and worshipping. This differentiates how we respond to God.
When we worship, we manifest devotion to God from our spirit, in contrast to praising where emotions or feelings are the source. Praise says I feel; worship says I love. Praise knows the hand of God; worship looks to the heart of God.
Are we then primarily a worshipper or primarily a praiser? Do we spend more time praising God than worshipping God? Do we often find ourselves moving from praise into worship or do we just remain on the level of praising?
We should ask ourselves these questions everyday because every waking hour of our life is a perfect moment to truly worship God in spirit and in truth. To truly be devoted to Him by understanding our motivation, thrust, and source of inspiration in worshipping God.