Genuine WORSHIP should CHANGE our LIFESTYLE: "But when the people of the land come before the Lord on the appointed feast days, whoever enters by way of the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate; and whoever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate. He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall go out through the opposite gate." (Ezek. 46:9)
In the above passage, we read the specific directions that are given to the Israelite worshipers entering the temple area. They should enter by one gate and exit by the other. As they walk through the temple courts, they should pass from one side to the other so that those going out are not in the way of those coming in. Some theologians infer that this was to prevent thrusting and jostling one another; for God is the God of order and not of confusion. Such regulations were needed on the special feast days due to the participation of large numbers of people. This may also symbolize the order that is to characterize the community of the new order of worshipers today!
The prince was to worship only at the threshold of the gate and the people only at the entrance (Ezek. 46:2–3), but today we have the great privilege of entering into the very presence of God (Heb. 10:19–25). However, like the Israelite worshippers (both prince and people), we should not return from worship as we came but things should be different because we have met with God (Ezek. 46:9).
In our worship where we minister unto God, we should press forward and not turn back; similar to the Israelite worshippers. Apostle Paul has described this aptly as follows: "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:13-14) We should not leave the worship place in the same condition as we came but leave in a condition that is more holy, heavenly, spiritual and pleasing to God.
The word ‘worship’ means ‘giving reverence or devotion’. It comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘worth-ship’ that means ‘ascribing worth to a person or object’. When we ‘worship’ God genuinely, we are saying ‘God is worthy of all my love, my attention and my devotion. He is worthy to receive all that I can give Him’.
Genuine worship of God is giving our absolute love, complete trust and total devotion. Genuine worship is submissive, like Abraham was willing to worship by submitting to God's command, even being willing to pay the cost of the life of his beloved son Isaac (Gen. 22:3). Genuine worship is marked with obedience just as Jesus has instructed us: "If you love Me, keep My commandments. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me." (John 14:15, 21)
Worship is not something we do but what we are. Genuine worship sees the hand of God in all of life and loves Him through the good and the bad. Through our worship, we shut out the world and separate ourselves unto the Lord. Genuine worship is costly because it requires us to make sacrifices. It requires that everything of value be placed on the altar and given to God (Rom. 12:1-2) When we worship God sincerely, we bow before God in adoration and thanksgiving as we realize who He is and what He has done in our lives so far. Genuine worship comes from the heart, and is spontaneous as God works in our lives.
Our way of living is an outward manifestation of our worship. Genuine worship affects our daily lifestyle that overflows with the abundance of the heart impacted by the grace of God. Our worship is an extension of our lives. God is seeking genuine worshipers today. Can we worship God in such a way that our lifestyle is changed completely?