Why We Worship

By Tyler Gilliland

Anytime I think back to my childhood, my thoughts always include a church. I’m sure this would happen for most PKs (pastor’s kids) because I think we can all agree that we lived in the church halls. Often our parents would be on mission, in a service, in a rehearsal, and so on, and we would be right there with them – it was eat, sleep, breathe church ministry. That was it! I even remember as a kid telling church families and visitors that we actually lived at the church, joking, “I even have a bed in my dad’s office because this is our real home!”

Now looking back, I’m sure most of those families never visited our church again, and hopefully never called child services! But church was life, and most of the memories shared by my family include my parents’ ministry. And fortunately, I was blessed with great parents who loved their kids, loved the church, exuded excellence in everything they did, and proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord in every aspect of their mission. In other words, they were a kind of “power couple” in ministry that everyone would look up to or maybe aspire to be, so naturally, I wanted to be like them in every regard – life simply couldn’t have been better!

As time went on and I grew a bit older, I started to ask questions that I normally wouldn’t have thought about – questions about the church, about life, or about why things or situations had fault and conflict that I never noticed before. I began to wonder why things weren’t always shining with innocence, and “colored” the same way they had been years before. It was almost as if one day, things just looked differently. And that perfect family that seemed never to do anything wrong started to seem as though they weren’t always perfect after all. I started to see the stress they actually had and the trials that life can naturally bring; and I started to become aware.

I thought I had this whole life-thing figured out, and I thought I knew why, and what my purpose was, but the shallow reasoning of my own power wasn’t strong enough anymore. I’ll never forget that feeling of defeat as though my tank were on “E.” What seemed to be the perfect, pastor’s-kid, Christian life that I thought I had, and the idea of who God was supposed to be began to crash down on my soul at a young age. So, I grew conflicted with all of these questions at age 13.

But on October 10, 2007, I finally found Jesus. It was an altar call at the end of a youth-group service with a guest speaker named Chad. He presented the Gospel, and it was the first time I felt the spirit of God pull on my heart to respond. I had never felt that before. The conviction consumed me, and I knew what I had couldn’t compare to what Christ had to offer. Chad’s words stuck with me at the end of his sermon when he said, “Some of you have been living in the idea of who Jesus could be in your life, but you haven’t gone from idea to letting Him be your reality and the Lord of your life.” That night I realized that I had been worshipping and idolizing my circumstances, my materialistic world, and even trying to live in my family members’ faith for so many years, all while assuming I was saved when I wasn’t! I went from the idea of Jesus to a relationship with Jesus that night when I surrendered to Him.

What Chad said that night has always stuck with me. Realizing that I thought I was saved, and had even been baptized, but I never actually let Him sit enthroned upon my heart where He rightfully deserves to sit. And it made me wonder, “How many church people are worshipping the idea of Christ, but have never let Him be Lord?” From that moment on, I knew that my ministry was to be making disciples, preaching the word, and eventually leading people in worship and song, but my heart became burdened for those in the church. How many have gone to church for years and never actually worshipped and served God?

My life changed when I realized that God is worthy of all my life and worship, and I would never – could never – be strong enough to do it on my own. He is worthy and I am not! He is the answer for that emptiness I started to feel. He will always be the answer for the lack in our life. Simply put, He is enough. What a breath of fresh air that our battles don’t have to be fought on our own power, but God goes before us and slays the giants of our life! (Deuteronomy 31:8; Psalm 139:5)! Praise the Lord!

Here are three takeaways on “Why We Worship” and why God is deserving of every part of who you are:

  1. We simply praise God because of who He is and who we aren’t.

Though seasons come and seasons change, God’s character never changes. He is completely independent of our circumstances, but totally with us through them if we let Him in. Our situations can be bad, but God never will be bad. I may face a challenge, but God is strong enough to handle it. I may grow sick, but I remember that God is the healer. Regardless of my place, God will remain the same in His omnipotence. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

  1. We simply praise God because of what He has accomplished.

This one probably comes easiest to us because we can see what He has done for us through the Cross. I’ve always defined worship as “Giving back to God what He has given to us.” Thinking about that and considering that He gave us a perfect and excellent Son in Jesus, all I can do in response is give my very best in all that I do – for we know that when we praise God, it retells the story of Christ over and over again. What a gift we have been given, as Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” We must praise in the light!

  1. We simply praise God because of what He has coming.

Throughout the Bible, we see so many promises and things that God is going to do, and we worship Him for it. Even Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25–26), whose worship and singing to God resulted in their release from jail, worshipped Him in the worst-case scenario, regardless of their circumstance because they knew that God was faithful to provide for them. We can look onward, knowing that God really does go before us, and He’s worthy of our worship. He longs to hear from us in worship and faith!

Prayer: “Lord, I pray that my faith remains in You and not my own power. I pray that I wouldn’t ‘take the reins’ of my own life when all seems to be fine, but that I would trust in Your goodness through every season, good and bad. Just like Paul and Silas, give me the understanding to never forget that You are worthy of all my worship, and that You are powerful enough to bring the miracle. Much more than an idea of who You are or how great You may sound in the rumors from others, I will remember that You are alive, that You are simply worthy, and I declare that I will personally run after You! In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Tyler Gilliland serves as Associate Pastor of Worship at Prestonwood.