BENEFITS OF WORSHIP
Why worship God? What an odd question that seems but, even Peter to whom the revelation of Jesus was given asked what he would gain in following Jesus as seen in Matthew 19:27 – “You see, we have given up everything to follow you. What then, will there be for us?”
Deep down, we all want to know – “what’s in it for me?” When circumstances seem like they would over flood me and walking the righteous path seems daunting, I am led to question and ask myself what really is the gain in following Jesus. Does that make me selfish? I hope not. It just makes me human and when God reassures me as He did Peter, I promptly ask for mercy for that moment of weakness. Yes, even John the Baptist had such moments of doubt as seen in Matthew 10:2-3 “When John the Baptist heard in prison about the deeds of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples, asking him ‘Are you the one who is to come or should we expect someone else’?”
So really what is the gain in worshiping this God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; this Trinitarian God who is 3 persons in one?
GAINS OF QUIET TIME WITH GOD IN WORSHIP
The speaker stated that the more you come into the presence of God, the more you drown out the crowd and all the voices which come along with the crowd. You are able to IDENTIFY the separate voices and obtain the Word of God during this period of solitude. It is this Word of God which is the sword used to slay vices and all the works of satan. The “sword of the spirit” in Ephesians 6:14 is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God which we are called to put on to resist the devil. It is no small feat that this weapon is given to us and made sharper as we spend time in solitude with God.
He explained that to be delivered from vices and evil spirits is one thing, but for this deliverance to be maintained is another issue as seen in Matthew 12:43-45 which talks of that evil spirit when driven away, returning with seven others if it finds the house from which it was driven, empty and clean. He pointed out that nature abhors vacuum so the sword of the Spirit is that which should occupy you if you intend to be free permanently from your vices and the clutches of the devil.
This worship of God in solitude with Him brings about not only spiritual deliverance, but also healing and revelation of mysteries and secrets to those whom God loves. Amos 3:7 talks of God not doing anything without revealing it first to His prophets:
“Yet Yahweh does nothing without revealing His plans to his servants.”
This is a verse to which I clung when I was pregnant. I wanted to know when I would give birth and I kept on reminding God of this Word as the delivery date drew near. After all, through my baptism, I was a prophet of God and I served God the best way I could. I wanted Him to speak to me or through someone else to tell me when I would give birth. I became so frustrated when I couldn’t hear Him and those I asked would look at me blankly. I had no information whatsoever but it was only after I gave birth that I realized that God had been telling me each day what day it would be. I had an application on my phone which I looked at daily which counted down the expected due date. Guess when I gave birth? On the expected due date.
This revelation of things to come can also be seen in what led Abraham to intercede for the city of Sodom in Genesis 18:17 whence God said “Can I conceal from Abraham what I am about to do?” Moses would not have been able to save Lot and his family through intercession if the destruction of the city was not revealed to him. And why was it revealed to him? Because he was a worshiper and he could tap into this gain made available.
1. WORSHIP GETS HEAVEN’S ATTENTION
The speaker stated that worship is a passageway into God’s court. Recent daily mass readings have been on the visions of Ezekiel and I have no doubt that he was a true worshiper. Ezekiel 43:4-7 shows Ezekiel being transported in a divine vision into the very presence of the Almighty God into the inner court. – Psalm 100:4 says that we are to “enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise.”
He explained that worship makes a way in the heavenly realms which are closed by principalities who seek to prevent the outpouring of God’s blessings upon you. Such forces are seen in Daniel 10:13 which talks of the Prince of Persia who had resisted for 21 days, the blessings from the prayers which had already been answered from reaching Daniel. Since Daniel was a man who knew how to worship, a pathway was created for him to access his blessings as it cut through the heavenly realms.
The speaker stressed that worship is the passport and the visa into heaven where God inhabits. We are called to renew our passport and visa which is done by bearing fruit as we partner with God and avoid distractions which may be as unassuming as leaving our mobile phones on while we worship. As we spend more time in worship, we attract more of God’s attention, as He increasingly opens up the heavenly realms for us to tap into the blessings assured.
2. WORSHIP GLORIFIES GOD & RELEASES RESOURCES
This glorification of God is a familiar benefit which I have come to associate with worship as we sing hymns such as the “Gloria” and “Alleluiah” in church. However, the other benefit is one I had not given much thought. Resources are released when we worship? What kind of resources? Every good thing and every thing we could possibly need for the journey ahead. My mind turned to material resources but I had to restrain myself since God gives us what we need and not necessarily what we want. Rest assured though that his Word in James 1:17 holds true – “Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of Light, in whom there is no change or shadow of change.”
The speaker pointed out that when we are focused on walking WITH God, and not necessarily for Him, we can be assured that He will pour out His blessings and resources upon us and we know that He has plans only for our good as seen in Jeremiah 29:11 so it is a good deal indeed – “For I know what my plans for you are, plans to save you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and to give you hope.”
3. WORSHIP STILLS THE WANDERING MIND
The wandering mind….ah yes, that!! It reminds me of a Femi Kuti song which talks about wondering (amongst other things) called “Wonder, Wonder.” Why does our mind wander whenever it is time to worship God? It is at that time that we start to wonder about all sorts of things and are tempted with distractions. However, the more we persevere in worship, the more our mind gets stilled as God inhabits our thoughts with every effort we make and every invocation of the Holy Spirit to assist us to focus on worship.
We must be calm in God’s presence and yield all to Him in worship, for as Ecclesiastes 9:11 says “the race is not won by the swift…for favor and misfortune overtake them all.”
4. WORSHIP STRENGTHENS PERSONAL ALTARS
This aspect of erecting altars is something which has always appealed to me. The practicality of doing such has always been a challenge for me, however, so I would dismiss it saying that it was a thing of the Old Testament. I had been cautious until someone called my mind to the boldness of Hindu workers or Buddhists who erect altars in their office. So why was I hesitant to do same in my office space?
The speaker urged us all to raise an altar in our homes since it would be a place of contact with God. He mentioned a vacant house for rent he had visited where he could identify the prayer room due to the presence of God in the place. This was also same in a movie I watched called the “War Room” where an area of the house was identified as one filled with the Glory of God. The woman had made this place her prayer closet and had erected an altar therein.
We all need such a place. Just as God would meet with Adam and Eve at a specific place in the garden, we too must have such a place and designate a time to be in solitude with God. I have heard of people whose contact with God may not be in such a practical place for an altar to be erected. God may choose to visit some people in the kitchen or bathroom and it is at that place where they hear Him most. I have two friends who commune with God when they are in the shower and the day’s messages and instructions are downloaded from there. In such cases, we must rely on the grace given to us by virtue of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which makes us mobile altars. More so, the grace given to us as Catholics as we rededicate ourselves at daily mass and receive Communion, through which God takes up residence within us.
He referred to the plight of Gideon who was key in destroying the altars of the idols that his father had worshiped in Judges 6:28, but failed to destroy the idols in his heart. How many altars have we destroyed, only to erect others which are not fit for God? Gideon had simply raised another altar by molding the gold of the Midianites into an altar in Ophrah and this error of his in Judges 8:27 cost him the death of his 70 sons and eventually wiped out his lineage.
5. WORSHIP BRINGS DOWN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
For those of us who were at last year’s Unusual Praise or the Mid Year Praise 2018, we can testify to this gain. The atmosphere was electrifying as worship provided the master key to unlock heaven. God cannot help but come down HIMSELF when we worship Him in truth. Where there is the presence of God, rest assured that the celestial court is present and imagine how electrifying the atmosphere would be indeed! I have tried singing worship songs severally during my quiet time and I cannot explain the feeling which consumes me. For some people, goosebumps start appearing while for others tears of joy roll down their cheeks while still for others a weakness overcomes them and an indescribable peace – the presence of God!
6. WORSHIP RELEASES MYSTERIES
Daniel was called “man loved by God” in Daniel 10:11 and I have no doubt that he too was a worshiper. This devotion to worship gave him deep insights and revelations into the mysteries of God and such is our gain if we too engage in worship of God. When we worship God, it is as if God enlightens our inner mind to understand and gives us spiritual eyes to see what would ordinarily be hidden from us. We are given the mind of Christ as mentioned in 1 Cor 2:16 and are thus able to download deep revelations and mysteries of the Most High God.
7. WORSHIP CEMENTS US & UNITES US
The speaker referred to one of my favorite chapters in the book of John to explain that worship is a cementing force which unifies us in the Spirit of God. John 17:21 was instrumental in the start of my walk with God. Jesus prayed “may they all be ONE as you Father are in me and I am in you” and this lies at the heart of being a disciple of God. We all know that a house divided against itself will eventually fall and we even use it in our everyday parlance over the unity of Nigeria – that “united we stand and divided we fall.” So why are we so surprised at what is happening in our society today? How united are Christians? That is even going too far – how united are Catholics within a parish?
The speaker gave an example of a ministration he went for wherein it was necessary to conduct a deliverance of a lady. Unfortunately, due to the conflicting instructions to the demon possessing the lady, the demon simply stayed. It was only when there was one person leading the deliverance that the lady was freed and the deliverance finally ended. We must be united in our attack against the evil one, knowing that it is satan’s strategy to divide the children of God in order to gain ground and cause havoc.
He mentioned a fast spreading cancer plaguing the Catholic church calling it “party spirit.” He explained that this evil spirit was dividing Catholics within parishes by pitching those who are in different societies or ministries against one another. Those in one society or ministry would refuse to go to an event being organized by the other because they were not part of them and some societies would even make it difficult for others to join them or benefit from what they are gaining as members.
How on earth can we unite Christendom if we cannot be united in a small Catholic parish? Everyone in the hall could identify with this and it has been my mission to remind us of the essence of our worship – Jesus who is the center of it all. Truly, it is only when we refuse to be divided that we can rise above our personal and collective challenges. Jesus prays to the Father in John 17:23 saying “I in them and you in me. Thus they shall reach perfection in unity.”
The speaker stressed that the government of Nigeria or corruption is not Nigeria’s problem – it is the church. He complained that we are busy building churches and have abandoned discipleship and referred to the plight of Ephesus mentioned in Revelations 2:4. Indeed they had forgotten their “first love” since they were focused on building churches and not men and as a result Turkey is now 99% Muslim and the church now a museum.
He called upon us to worship God in ONE voice which leads one to be in ONE accord. By worshiping God in ONE VOICE, our spirit in united in God and once we are united, the devil has already lost the battle wherever and whenever he seeks to sow discord.
The worship continues, brethren. So let me ask you one question – why would you NOT worship God? There is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
May God keep us ever focused on Him and pour out the gains of worshiping Him upon us, as we strive to be true worshipers in Jesus name we pray. Amen.