True Worship Is Three-Directional

At some point you were probably like I was (and so many in our pews still are!). Any time you heard the word “worship” you assumed that word mostly referred to singing, clapping, talking to God, etc.

However, worship is actually much more than that. True, Biblical worship encompasses our entire lives. In fact, in his book, The Ultimate Priority, John MacArthur explains that for our worship to be “whole-life” it must include three directions. Most certainly, we worship God when we focus directly on Him, pointing our worship upward towards God (as we normally think of worship). But we should also worship God inwardly. The third direction we should worship Him is outwardly, to those around us.

You might think of three-directional worship like this: Imagine that you say to your boss, “You are the greatest boss to ever walk the face of the earth. Furthermore, this is the best job I have ever had or ever will have. In fact, I practically worship at your feet for just letting me get to do this job every day.” (Am I laying it on thick enough yet? Are you getting the point? Some of us are going to have a really difficult time imagining ourselves ever saying those words to your boss, but work with me here!) OK, having said such a mouthful upward towards your boss, how should you be when no one’s looking? If you really meant those words you spoke, you’ll talk well of your boss and your job when your boss isn’t around, and you’ll work hard and enthusiastically for him even when no one’s watching you. Why? Because inwardly you really do love your boss and you want to please him.

Now let’s take our analogy a step further. Let’s say you’re in the service industry, and your job involves assisting other people. Every time you cheerfully seek to help someone, every time you go out of your way to meet their needs, you are outwardly honoring your employer and saying by your actions how much you appreciate working for him. In much the same way, our God is honored (worshiped) not only by what we say to Him, but by Whose we are and by how we respond to those He died for.

This article is an excerpt from Week 3 of Pure Praise: A Heart-focused Bible Study on Worship (c) 2006 by Dwayne Moore. To order this worship study, please go to our Resources.

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