Worshipping our Savior, Jesus Christ, is fundamental to living a faith-filled, Spirit-led Christian life. There are multiple worship methods, plans and styles that vary among cultures and geographic boundaries.
The Lord enjoys the diversity of sincere worship when expressed through His Spirit and in truth. Worship should be a way of life, with many facets of expression.
Some worship leaders declare that a certain defining style of worship is the only correct way to worship the Lord, but that is a narrow view of His inexhaustible riches. Music and song are ways we can praise God’s name, but the Word says we can worship God with feasting (Ps. 22:29) and with sacrifices and offerings (Is. 19:21), among other means.
Regardless of the method, the act of worship must be in spirit and truth—from our rational consciousness and consistent with the rest of our lives (John 4:24). We don’t have to be great singers or musicians to worship God. But we do need to be in a personal relationship with Him and live with the truth of His greatness reflecting through all we are becoming and all we do.
I have lived under the weight of many unhealthy labels in my life. But I have a longing in me for the King of heaven to label me, along with Mary of Bethany, as an “extravagant worshipper” (John 12:3).
Extravagant worship is not achieved by taking shortcuts. I have tried shortcuts to worship, and I have tried to do things my way, but I ended up frustrated and farther away from my goal.
Worship involves the giving of ourselves totally to the Lord. It is neither a ritualistic activity nor a musical emotion. It reflects the selfless generosity of Christ.
Worship is a movement of our hearts, our thoughts, and our wills toward God’s heart, thoughts, and will. To practice extravagant worship, you’ll need to get good at saying, “I lay down my life.”
Sacrificial Worship Pleases God
In the Old Testament, Noah was an extravagant worshiper. Genesis 8:20-21 tells about his building an altar to the Lord after the flood and sacrificing offerings on it.
Noah had just witnessed the drowning of all mankind save him and his family. Yet he was still obedient to God’s instruction to offer a sacrifice of praise when they were on dry land again.
When the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma of Noah’s sacrifice, He gave us a covenant promise that He would not ever destroy all living creatures again because of one man who offered extravagant, over generous worship in obedience to God’s command. Noah lived through extreme circumstances, but he still praised God in the midst of them.
Likewise, when God tested Abraham, He said, “‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about'” (Gen. 22:2).
Abraham built the altar and then bound his son and laid him on it. But when he took up his knife to slay his precious boy, “The angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’
“‘Here I am,’ he replied.
“‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son'” (vv. 11-12).
Abraham was excessive in his act of worship. He was prepared to give to the Lord the thing he loved the most.
David wanted to offer a sacrifice to the Lord to stop a plague on the Lord’s people. So he asked Araunah to sell him a place on his threshing floor to build an altar (1 Chr. 21:18-22).
Araunah wanted to give the area and livestock needed for David’s sacrifice at no charge. But David said, “‘No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing'” (vv. 23-24).
When Paul and Silas were in jail, even though they had been flogged for preaching the gospel and now had their feet in stocks, they prayed and sang to God. Suddenly, while they were worshiping, a violent earthquake opened all the doors of the prison.
Thinking his prisoners had escaped, the jailer was so distraught that he was about to kill himself, but Paul and Silas stopped him and led him to salvation before they were released. God supernaturally delivered them from that prison (Acts 16:23-39).
Throughout the Bible, whenever someone demonstrated extravagant worship, God reacted with extravagant blessing. What makes worship extravagant? It must cost us something.