By: Conrad Radny Tolosa
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise His name. Psalm 100:4
A lot of Christians throw the term “worship” around without really having a defined understanding of it. They equate worship with the singing part at church which is unfortunate. If we have a better understanding of what worship is, we will be able to do it more effectively and hopefully more often. So, practically speaking, what is worship?
We can split worship into two categories — praisegiving and thanksgiving. But careful, a lot of people confuse one with the other. Not that God will strike you down if you mess them up but it would be nice to be a little more cognitive of what we are doing. Praise giving is admiring someone for who he is. Thanksgiving is admiring someone for what he has done.
Like, you can’t thank me for having certain attributes because it would sound weird. Conrad, thank you for being 5 foot 6 and a half inches tall. Or, thank you for being Asian. You can praise me but not thank me for these things.
Thanksgiving now obviously is thanking someone for what he has done. Conrad, thank you for saving my children from the burning house; thank you for killing the zombie hoard; thank you for preventing me from watching Matrix 2 and 3.
So we praise God for who He is — for His attributes. God, I praise You because You are a God of love. I praise You because You are faithful. I praise You because You are omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
We thank God for what He has done or is doing. God, I thank you for sending Christ to die for my sins. I thank you for this car and this house. I thank you that you prevented the Yankees from winning.
And for everything we thank Him for, we can at the same time praise Him for an attribute that is associated with what He did. God, thank you for sending Christ to die for my sins — I praise you because you are a God of love. God, thank you for this shotgun to fight off zombies — I praise you because you are generous.
Now that we know what praisegiving and thankgiving really are, we also know what worship is. When we are aware of this, we can worship God anywhere at anytime. If you put your mind to it, worship can happen whenever you take the time to recognize God for who He is and what He’s done.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:1-5