Worship or Lightly Esteem?
In today's society, people have a mixed concept of worship. The biblical definition is "an act of honor, praise, and reverence of deity [or God]." But we see people worshipping celebrities, places, presidents, and even technology—instead of God.
In contrast, there is often a lack of worship for the true things of God, such as His Presence, His House, or even His creations. In fact, the Bible says in the last days there will be an increase of this behavior. People will have a "form of godliness, but deny its power" (2 Timothy 3:5). In other words, even those who go through the motions of worship may in fact have a heart and mind that's far from God.
This simply implies that we shouldn't judge each other's form of worship—let's let God do that... But individually, it would be good to do a heart-check to make sure our worship is in the right place.
The Bible says, "Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (Psalm 29:2). God is beautiful. He is the beauty of holiness and worthy of our worship. In all that He has given unto us and done for us through redemption, it is only right that we worship Him. But it is also (as a dear friend of mine always says) one of the only things we can give Him that He did not first give us.
In other words, you won't find God giving you or I worship. So much of our lives are an act of giving back to Him what He has given us. For example: our money, our time, our faith, our attitude... almost everything. Therefore, because God has helped us, then in reverence and honor we return those things in measure back to Him.
But worship is different than our money or time.
It is one of the things we give God first, instead of the other way around. But what a thought this is! If I'm not giving Him a measure of every part of my life, is this an indication of my love and worship of Him? You bet. Yet most people don't see it that way.
Our worship shouldn't resemble only a small measure of time one morning a week at church. The Word of God says this kind of behavior is equal to despise. In today's vernacular, this word is harsh and ugly. But in the Bible, despise simply means to "lightly esteem." In other words, it's quite possible most people live their lives lightly esteeming God (unknowingly).
In the Old Testament, God said to the priest, Eli: "Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me... But now the Lord says, 'Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed'" (1 Samuel 2:29-30).
The New Testament says all believers are now priests (representatives of man before God). Therefore, this reprimand from God to Eli can be taken as a warning for us also. God assigned Eli and his household to be priests, but they had taken the job lightly. So God said He would esteem them lightly in return.
We must remember worship is a lifestyle. It is an act of honor and reverence of God. This means as I vow to honor God with my thoughts, attitudes, words, time, and resources, it is an act of worship. But if, on the other hand, I wake up and get halfway (or all the way) through my day without even as much as thinking about God, I have actually "lightly esteemed", or "despised" Him.
He says, "Those who honor Me, I will honor." And He does. I'm amazed at the ways in which God honors us. Especially when I remember that He did so before we were deserving. "For God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
So let us worship God.
Ignatius of Loyola