“O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” Psalms 95:1-2
We are already aware that praise always comes before worship. In fact, in verse 6 of Psalms 95, it is only after praise that the psalmist invites us to worship and bow down before the Lord, our maker. It is of great significance to every follower of Christ to determine the differences between the two. In a previous blog, we touched on the subject of motivation, thrust power, and source of inspiration. And there are more distinctions between praise and worship that we can learn.
Depth of Dedication
How dedicated are we in praise, and how dedicated are we in worship?
When we praise, it’s always an emotional outlet or our expression for what God has done for us. And there is no word in the Scripture that says worship is something that is given to us by God. In fact, worship is not a gift from God but rather our gift to God.
While praise is our expression, worship is supposed to be our lifestyle. A true worshiper, whether he’s engaged in worship or not, is still a worshiper. It is something he lives by. It is much more than behavior or an attitude; it’s much more than a specific action to God. It is a way of life that affects a person outside of the presence of God.
We can discern a worshiper not just by what they do on a Sunday morning in the church. We can praise God all we want, but more often than not, when we go outside the church building, the garment of praise is easily worn out. In contrast, worship is something that we are no matter where we are. It’s supposed to be our lifestyle.
Whatever we worship, we become. Worship has the ability to change us, while praise can’t change a person that much. It doesn’t have the power to change our behavior. There is a power released in worship that makes us become that which we worship. If we see God as holy, then in the holy of holies, He will make us holy. If we see Him as a healer, He will make us healed.
As we look into the image of our God, we see His nature. We become what we see. The difference between praise from worship is the depth of our dedication to truly knowing God and giving to Him instead of receiving.
Worship can also be defined as the extreme submission and the manifestation of extravagant love. It demands from us a lifestyle of commitment. We don’t need to look further to better define worship than in the Word of God. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:30
Our extreme submission to God should hold no reservation. We give him all our heart, soul, mind, and strength—this a manifestation of extravagant love toward our Creator. In contrast, praise does not have that level of commitment or dedication because it is an act of receiving from God.
We can look at Daniel as an example of what a true worshipper is. He was brought into captivity, but accepted his grave circumstance and all his sufferings as the will of God. In his captivity, he wasn’t bitter or offended. In fact, Daniel continued to pour out his love toward God. He found it necessary that he’s got to worship Him.
In his confinement, he was able to commune with God as often as three times a day. That’s an extreme commitment. Whether he was worshipping in training, whether he was worshipping in service, or whether he was worshipping God in the lion’s den, Daniel showed that his response to God is his lifestyle. A lifestyle of extreme submission and commitment.
Another distinction between praise and worship is our proximity to God. The distance between God and us in praise is truly different from the distance between us and God in worship.
Praise is a vehicle of expression that brings us into God’s presence, into His courtyard. But we are still miles away from God’s manifested glory. We can make a joyful noise and sing praises and give thanks to Him in the courtyard as much as we want, but we can never enter the holy of holies the way worship does.
Worship can take us to the shortest distance to God, where we can touch him. Because worship is our highest level of expression to God, we stand closer to Him. Worship is acknowledging God at the highest level. It means interaction, intimacy, communion, and fellowship with Him. It’s in that intimate proximity that He molds us into His image. Worship brings us to the place that we can reach out and touch our Maker.
Method of Expression
We can also find a distinction between praise and worship through the method of expression. We may notice that a praiser is very vocal. They make joyful and emotional noise. They resonate with their mouth; they communicate; they talk.
In contrast, when we move into worship, there’s not much of anything coming out of our mouths. This is interaction at the highest level between God and man. There is that awe of God’s splendor and wonder that no noise or sound comes out from us but only admiration and reverence to our Holy God.
Worship comes to a place where there is quietness. We move from praising, in which vocal and emotional sounds arise, into who He is in our spirit through worshipping. Because we make contact with Him, words are no longer the order of the moment.
The Bible says we were created to give God glory. And glory flows when we move from praise to worship; when we come to the revelation of who God is. May we always be reminded that we are not just to respond to God only through our praise, but also to move into a lifestyle of worship. Worship is when God talks to His Spirit inside of a redeemed man.
It is through motivation, thrust, source of inspiration, commitment, proximity, and method of expression that we understand the distinction between praise and worship.