Note to Reader: The following article is designed to help you understand the purpose for your life as a child of God. Whatever you are facing needs to be approached from a God- centered life. Worship is the core expression of our whole life. What we worship is what we value most. We worship what or whoever we love and trust most. True transformation in the areas you seek to grow/change comes from a life of worship for God. As you read this article, allow God to reveal your heart and increase your love and trust for Him.


A Life of Worship for God


It is so easy to live by default--falling into the patterns of everyday life, assuming that the reason for my life is to carry out these routines. God has called us to a life of purpose, not patterns, one that He has designed with His glory as the driving force. God wants us to join Him in experiencing His delight and the way we are to do this is in worship. A Life of Worship was conceived in the pleasures of God in eternity past, created in God’s plan for the ages and finds its culmination in eternity future.

As you examine God’s story of worship, may the big picture give you a sense of purpose and identity and may the details give you a pathway of desire and satisfaction. 


The Activity of Eternity Past

Before creation, God was--always existing, never changing, complete in Himself (Ps. 90:2, Jn. 1:1, Rms. 11:36). In eternity past, God found absolute fulfillment in the fellowship of Himself, the Trinity:  the Father (Is. 43:13, Ps. 95:2), Son (Jn 8:58, 17:5, 25; Heb. 1:2) and Spirit (Heb. 9:14), same in essence and glory yet distinct in person. God’s pleasure in Himself is complete in this divine, personal relationship. The beauty and perfection of Himself is what God loves and delights in more than anything else.

                 I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.

Isaiah 42:8

 Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure”; 

Isaiah 46:10-11


How are you doing wrapping your mind around all of this? If you think God is self-centered you’d be right. He is the center of all things (Isa. 43:10, 44:6). To be anything less would make Him less than God. If there was anything greater, more worthy than God, then it would be God. He is the center of all things.


For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36


The activity of eternity is centered in God’s pleasure to uphold and display His glory above all else (Isa. 48:11). At some point in eternity past God made a decision. He would create a display of His glory (Isa. 43:6-7) and it would contain a people to enjoy and worship Him (2 Cor. 4:6; Ps. 19:1). He would create all things for His good pleasure (Eph. 1:5, 2:9-10; Phil. 2:13; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 4:11).


A People to Make Much of Him

And so God creates, from the pallet of His glory, the heavens and the earth. God finds delight in this display--it is good. He is now ready to breathe life into those who will be able to enjoy and make much of Him (Ps. 8).  When God made man, He gave him the most valuable gift possible, Himself, in two ways; 1) His very image (Genesis 1:26-27) and 2) His daily presence (Genesis 3:8-9). 

Another thing God gives man so he might be a worshiper is freedom of choice. Adam and Eve could choose to live their life in response to the glory of God, or place their devotion somewhere else. God’s intent with man has always been to have true worshipers who would choose to seek Him (Jn. 4:23). Adam and Eve chose to honor themselves over God (Genesis 3:1-7).


The fall of man is a failure to worship God (Romans 1:21). Due to this choice, mankind now is unable to worship God having a broken image of God and a hostile separation from God (Eph. 2:3).


Worship in the Shadows

Man is still a worshiper, but now in the shadows of self-deception. Man has “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worships and serves the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans. 1:25).


The earth is still filled with worship but not to God. Everyone is following what they value most and placing that upon their throne and worshiping. A life of worship is found in what or whom we love and trust most.  Here is where we find our ultimate identity, desire and satisfaction. What is worshiped dominates our time, energy, money, and affections. Worship is in man’s soul. The broken image of God is now twisted into self-pleasure.


Even in this condition, God still seeks true worshipers (Jn. 4:23). He will uphold and display His glory above all else.


The Redemptive Call to Worship

Even as God declared His sentence upon man’s rebellion, He proclaimed the Redeemer – “He (Jesus) will crush your head (Satan) and you will strike His heal” (Genesis 3:15). And so God begins to unfold His redemptive plan. A plan centered in Himself and designed to reveal His glory (1 Sam. 12:22; Is. 43:21; 1 Pt. 2:9; Ps. 106:7-8).  God’s greatest pleasure is God and He has chosen to love and save us because of His immeasurable worth. Because of this, His love for us can be no greater.


…God’s first love is rooted in the value of his name, not the value of a sinful people. And because it is, there is hope for sinful people - since they are not the ground of their salvation, God’s name is. Do you see why the God-centeredness of God is the ground of the gospel...? The pleasure that he has in his fame is the pledge and passion of his readiness to forgive and save those who lift his banner and cast themselves on his promise and mercy. (Ps. 25:11; 79:9; Jer 14:7, 9; Col. 3:17)

-  John Piper, The Pleasures of God, p. 105 & 107


Here is our great hope. Only God can make that which is dead alive (Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 9). Only God, in the infinite worth of His glory, could carry out the greatest plan ever – the Gospel. If we are to be true worshipers then we must understand, embrace, and proclaim God in all His glory.


Let’s look at the gospel from the perspective of God’s glory so that our purpose of worship is made clear.

We must step back into eternity past and see the everlasting fellowship of the Father and the Son. This is perfect joy and relationship with no beginning. The Father’s greatest pleasure is in the Son (Col. 1:15-16, 2:9, 2 Pt. 1:17-18, Prov. 8:30, Mt 17:5, Heb. 1:3-14, Phil. 2:6).


Because man chose not to worship God but to be His enemy, God ushers in the plan to uphold his name and restore a people of worship. He must be both just and justifier - true to His glory in redeeming man (Romans 3:26). The cost will be beyond measure.


God displays His greatness as the Son steps out of eternity into time. The Creator wraps Himself in creation (Jn. 1:1, Col. 1:16, Phil. 2:6-8). The Sovereign God becomes a helpless baby. For love of sinners, yes, but ultimately, love of the Father. He will demonstrate to all the infinite worth of the Father’s glory (Jn. 12:27-28).


The moment is upon Him and Jesus declares – “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt. 26:39). The physical sacrifice will be great but that is not what creates the agony of His prayer. The supreme, most pure relationship has always been between the Father and the Son.  It is their greatest pleasure. It will soon, momentarily, come to an end. Not a quick separation like turning on and off a light switch, but one filled with the wrath of the Father, for Jesus must take on the sins of all mankind and the Father must destroy what opposes His glory.


Darkness falls upon all the land and from that cross, the Son sees what no other can. What is before Him is between the Father and the Son. Possibly, it was something like this:

From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross.  Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath.  But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky.  The Son does not recognize these eyes.

 “Son of Man! Why have you behaved so?  You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied.  You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed.  Oh the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned!  Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name?  Have you ever held your razor tongue?  What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk – you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents.  Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons?  Does the list never end!  Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp – buying politicians, practicing extortion, filming pornography, accepting bribes.  You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves – relishing each morsel and bragging about it all.  I hate, I loathe these things in you!  Disgust for everything about you consumes me!  Can you not feel my wrath?”   (Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes, When God Weeps, p.53)


The blameless Son cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46) but He knows the plan, He and the Father created it, and so with triumph He shouts, “it is finished!”(Jn. 19:30) and with love He affirms, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Lk. 23:46).


Here is what we need to understand:

The exaltation of his glory is the driving force of the gospel. The gospel is a gospel of grace! And grace is the pleasure of God to magnify the worth of God by giving sinners the right and power to delight in God without obscuring the glory of God. – John Piper, The Pleasures of God, p. 22


The right and power to delight in God – this is a life of worship. We are redeemed to worship God.  Once we worshiped in the shadows, now all that we do is to be an expression of worship to God. Our life is to be lived becoming true worshipers, making known the glory of Christ.


The Christian Gospel is "the gospel of the glory of Christ" because its final aim is that we would see and savor and show the glory of Christ. - John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, p.16



True Worshiper

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father

in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.    John 4:23


If you were to ask the average church attender what is worship, he would most likely say it is the hour I spend singing and hearing a sermon at church on Sunday mornings. Some may even venture out to say it also includes my personal devotions. Is this really worship? Jesus said the Father is seeking true worshipers.  Jesus defines a true worshiper in John 4:7-42.


In this passage the missional heart of Jesus sets the direction. Instead of taking the conventional route from Judea to Galilee He takes the shorter one that goes through Samaria. Samaria was not a place Jews wanted to pass through let alone stop for a mid-day meal but a different hunger was building inside Jesus, a hunger for that which the Father was seeking.


Jesus would find this hunger satisfied by what most Jews would consider distasteful – a Samaritan, a Samaritan women, an adulteress, Samaritan woman. Why was He attracted to one so repulsive? He was attracted because the Father was seeking those to be His worshipers.


Jesus asks her for water and then offers Himself as living water. She only sees her want and Jesus leads her to her need – a sinner in need of a Savior. A cautious excitement stirs in her heart and she asks about where to find true worship. Her spiritual blindness can only see a place but Jesus offers her a person. Focus your worship on the Father, not on ignorance, but on truth. Salvation is from the Jews and sits before you now.


Jesus then brings to her the heart of the Father. His greatest pleasure is Himself and He has made a way for man to know and make much of Him. The One before her will make it possible to worship God in spirit and truth.


This woman of no value had found supreme value – this is not the Christ is he? Her delight in the discovery caused her to forget about well water and consider for herself and others the living water offered – they went out of the city, and were coming to Him.


When the disciples return they urge Jesus to eat and He says, no thanks, I’ve already eaten.  For two more days Jesus would feast on the meal the Father had set before Him.



What has Jesus told us about true worshipers?


·        True worshipers are not restricted to a time or place.

·        True worshipers have been redeemed with their spirit now alive to God (Jn. 3:6).

·        True worshipers understand and act in response to the truth of God.

·        True worshipers have an intimate relationship with God (His worshipers).

·        True worshipers seek what the Father seeks – true worshipers.


So what is the implication? The ability to worship in spirit and truth comes from one source – the Holy Spirit. True worshipers are born of the Spirit of God (John 3:6) who now indwells them (1 Cor. 6:19) and brings them power (Acts 1:8) and truth (Jn. 16:13-15) to worship God everywhere and at all times (1 Cor. 10:31). This is the foundation for a life of worship. We seek a life of worship that is relational, transformational and missional.


A Life of Worship that is Relational

God does not seek worshipers that act out of impersonal ritual but those who are in a vital relationship with Him. The greatest pleasure of God is Himself and He extends to us the privilege of knowing Him and being known by Him as His child. In this we are to boast.


For I delight in steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Hosea 6:6


Thus says the Lord, " Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord.

 Jeremiah 9:23-24


 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30


A true worshiper is God’s worshiper, striving, in the Spirit, to know and love and obey Him. Worship is relational, you can’t value what you don’t know and only what you give yourself to, in love and obedience (Jn. 14:15), will you worship. The only true way to know, value and love is in relationship.


A Life of Worship is Transformational

Authenticity and transparency without transformation is void of God. God is a God of transformation. He speaks and from nothing the heavens and earth are created. He takes that which is dead and makes it alive (Eph. 2:1-10), a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and a worshiper of God is born-- transformation. God’s transforming work in us doesn’t stop here (Phil. 1:6).


But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the lord, the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18


And what is that image?


For those he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son… Rm. 8:29


True worshipers strive for God’s transforming work in their life (Phil. 2:12-13) because they know the Father’s greatest delight is in the Son and when He sees Jesus being reflected in us back to Him, it brings Him much pleasure. Our worship is designed to bring pleasure and glory to God and joyful completion for us as we find our ultimate source of purpose, identity, desire and satisfaction. Here also is our greatest pleasure. 


God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him - John Piper


Our wanting to please God above all else is developed in knowing Him (Col. 1:10). We see this pattern in Romans 11:33-12:2. Worship that is relational (11:33-36) leads to worship that is transformational (12:1-2).

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How

      unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!



 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things To Him be the gloryforever. Amen.

1   Therefore I urge you, brethren; by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living

    and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your

   mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptableand perfect.


As Paul worships God in His sovereignty and supremacy (11:33-36), recalling the phenomenal relationship God has secured for us (by the mercies of God), transformational worship becomes our necessary response.


Worship that is transformational can appear overwhelming and we ask, how can I ever change? The answer is found in Philippians 2:12-13.


So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.


It is God who seeks to do His work within us and in this He has much pleasure. Transformational worship isn’t about our great abilities that we offer to God, we have none. It is about His greatness and our coming to Him in our need, as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). These bodies we give in sacrifice are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6: 12-20). He is within us to do His transforming work. What we bring to Him is our brokenness, thirst, and weakness, and He lavishes upon us redemption, healing, satisfaction, strength, and reflection (image of Jesus). We come to Him with hands wide open to receive and He fills them so we in turn can give all back to Him in a life of worship--for it is His glory that brings Him greatest pleasure. (1 Chron. 29:14ff, 1 Cor. 4:7). Our worship is transformational.


Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God.

To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God,

To feed the mind with the truth of God,

To purge the imagination by the beauty of God,

To open the heart to the love of God,

To devote the will to the purpose of God.

And all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of human expressions of which we are capable.

– William Temple


Our greatest witness to the world is their seeing Jesus in us by our words and actions.


... that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us,

 so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17 21


A Life of Worship that is Missional

And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

Matthew 28: 17-20


In the context of worship the commission is given. We seek the lost because of the supremacy of God. We proclaim to a broken world because He is above all, worthy to be made known. God takes pleasure in spreading His name and the good news of the gospel is the greatness of God. The more we see His greatness, especially in the Son and His gospel, the more we worship and the more we become missional in our passion, purpose and practice.


Jesus’ sacrifice is pleasing to the Father (Is. 53:10), a fragrant offering (Eph. 5:2) first and foremost because it demonstrates the righteousness of God (Rm. 1:17, 3:26). His glory is revealed in the grace He extends and to this end our life of worship is missional. God, in His glory, is always our driving passion.


Missions exists because worship doesn’t.  Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.  When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.  It is a temporary necessity.  But worship abides forever (John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, 11).


This is the hunger Jesus had one day at a well in Samaria. He knew what the Father was seeking--His worshipers (Jn. 4:23). Worship is to give us a hunger to fill the earth with worshipers to God. Our passion for God must translate into a passion for people for the sake of His name (Ps. 25:11). Here is the purpose of the gospel--to redeem man through the sacrifice of Jesus so that the glory of God might be seen in the lives of His worshipers.


God now is busy redeeming the people back to him again, back to the original purpose, to be mirrors reflecting God’s glory. Worship is man’s full reason for existence. -A.W. Tozer, The Purpose of Man, p. 46


Our love for God must translate into the practice of redemptive love for others (Mk. 12:3). Worship that is relational guides us to worship that is transformational and this empowers a worship that is missional. We become a reflection of His love as we step into a darkened world.


Let your light shine before men in such a way that they see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Mt. 5:16


And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Heb. 13:16


A passion for God and His glory fills us with a purpose to fill the earth with His worship as we redemptively love those in darkness and help them become complete in Christ as true worshipers.


We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Colossians 1:28


Activity of Eternity Future – the Glorious Unending End


Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure”;

 Isaiah 46:10-11


In eternity future all of the good pleasures of God are fulfilled. His triumphant plan is completed and set into eternity.


This is the everlasting gospel, the message that God has given from eternity to eternity. It is the theme of Scripture, the theme of eternity, the theme of redemptive history – to worship the true and living and glorious God. Before the creation, after the creation, in eternity past, in eternity future, and throughout all time in between, worship is the theme, the central issue in all of creation.

– John MacArthur Jr., The Ultimate Priority, p. 31


The Son will forever display the glory of God in His gospel plan--the Lamb. In heaven we see the Son of God in all His glory (Rev. 1:12-20) revealing His price and passion to bring to the Father His worshipers - And I saw between the thrones… a lamb standing, as if slain (Rev. 5:6). How glorious is He – Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (Rev. 5:11).


... the centerpiece of worship in heaven for all eternity will be the display of the glory of the grace of God in the slaughtered Lamb. Angels and all the redeemed will sing of the suffering of the Lamb forever and ever. The suffering of the Son of God will never be forgotten. The greatest suffering in history will be at the center of our worship and our wonder forever and ever. - John Piper, Suffering and Sovereignty of God, p. 85


We are given the first fruits of the Spirit (Rms. 8:23) to worship God this side of eternity yet we do so with limits-- for we have this treasure in earthen vessels (1 Cor. 4:7). Our pleasure and ability to worship God is incomplete and we long for that completion. Jesus knows this and prays for our future.


Father I desire that they also, whom You have given me, be with me where I am, so that they may see my glory which you have given me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known you, yet I have known you; and these have known that you sent me; and I have made Your name known, so that the love with which You loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (Jn 17: 24-26).


 In eternity future, with the curse removed and the enemy defeated, our pleasure and worship of God will be complete. We see now in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known (1 Cor. 13:12). We will be whole to worship and enjoy God completely.


Now I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God – the All-Powerful – and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God lights it up and its lamp is the Lamb... And there is no longer any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him and they will see His face and his name will be on their foreheads.

 Rev. 21:22-23, 22:3-4


Though we are presently incomplete, groaning within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Rm. 8:23) we have a living hope (1 Peter 1:3-5). Our future is secure imperishable, undefiled, unfading, reserved in heaven - there is nothing and no one that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rm. 8:38-39). Our future is a present reality because the activity of eternity is worship and as we strive to live a life of worship to God we learn to live our life from an eternal perspective (Rm. 8:18), allowing life's trials and sorrows to be washed in the joy of our present life in God (Rm. 8:23-39), and our future completion (1 Pt. 1:6-9).


Let me return to my opening statement. Whether by design or default all of us choose for what we are living. What do you choose? God has given His true worshipers both the right and power to delight in Him forever. As you consider the growth/change you want to make, will you make this an act of worship, seeking redemptive change.