Inseparable: The Essential Link Between Worship and Word

Posted by Louie Giglio on 1 April 2013

Recently, while speaking to a large group of young people, I had a temporary moment of insanity and challenged the audience to memorise an entire book of Scripture. At first people looked at me like I had lost my mind. But soon a sort of “group euphoria” overcame us and people began to think, I can do this!

Well, that was over a month ago and the initial wave of excitement has faded. I would guess only a few are still pressing ahead. But this past week one of those few fuelled my heart with renewed hope for the lead worshippers of the future. I noticed him with his laminated copy of Colossians and asked how he was doing. “I’ve memorised all of chapter 1 and am moving into chapter 2,” he replied. And he’s just the guitar player in the band, not even the “up front” worship leader! Wow! (I’m smiling.)

You see, worship and the Word are inseparable. As worshippers and lead worshippers, we must continually link our lives to the living Word of God, both to nourish our souls and to feed our flocks.

Contrary to modern culture, worship does not begin with music, but with God. In fact, everything begins with Him, the living Logos (Word), the Alpha and the Omega—Beginning and End. So we read in the opening of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Announcing the arrival of Christ on Earth, John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (v. 14, NASB).

If we believe Jesus is pre-eminent, and, therefore, must be the centrepiece of our living and our worship, a little common logic leads us down this path: Jesus is the centre of all true worship.

Jesus is the Word of God.

Therefore, the Word of God is the centre of all true worship for all time.

It has always been interesting to me that the longest chapter in Scripture, Psalm 119, is about the psalmist’s love affair with God’s Word. Right in the middle of this amazing handbook of praise, we find the “lead worshipper” celebrating the essential role of the Word in his own life. It’s there we find the confession: “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws” (Ps. 119:164). Notice the daily link between worship and the Word in David’s life. All throughout the day, the psalmist was thanking God for the truth. Yes, he was always praising God. But he was also thinking about God’s Word every minute of the day. That’s why he goes on to say, “May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees” (v. 171). If I’m reading this right, the source of the psalmist’s worship is the activity of the Word of God in his life. In his case, the work of the Word pre- ceded the “overflowing” of praise to God. If you’re like me, you hear people praising God all the time. But when’s the last time you were around people who were “overflowing” with worship because of the impact God’s Word was making in their lives?

Songs alone don’t change people. It’s the truth that sets us free. As lead worshippers, it’s essential that we immerse ourselves in His Word and allow His Word to reshape and contour our hearts. In fact, God only has one ultimate goal for us all—the goal of being conformed to the image of His Son (see Rom. 8:29). To be conformed is a tough and arduous task, a journey that leads us to the anvil and the altar, moment by moment. It’s a process of transformation that results from consistently renewing our minds by God’s truth (see Rom. 12:2).

If we’re not careful, we can quickly inhale the feelings and emotion we experience in corporate wor- ship, only to go away with little lasting and substantive change in our souls. In other words, we are prone to joyfully uttering the words of praise,while continually dodging the sword of the Spirit. As a result, our worship becomes a counterfeit shell while our hid- den heart fails to embrace His truth for our lives.

If my gifted guitar-playing friend keeps plugging away in Colossians, he’ll soon be encouraged by this challenge in chapter 3: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, AND as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16, emphasis added). What begins with a heart set on His Word will always end in a song of praise to our God.

So gently lay down the guitar and pick up the Word of God. Within its pages are life and breath — and everything.


[Taken from 'InsideOut Worship: Matt Redman and Friends' published by Survivor.]

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