• Aaron Day

WORSHIP AS DISCIPLESHIP

In current Christianity, both of the terms I have used to anchor my title have become buzzwords—for better or worse. Worship likely brings to mind images of congregations singing or in some cases a rock concert. Discipleship, in a similar surface thought, conjures images of Fixer Upper-styled living rooms or kitchens or a rustic coffee shop; the conversation imagined is vaguely spiritual and possibly ends in a prayer. While singing is definitely an aspect of worship and conversation and hospitality are components of discipleship, the cultural clichés above do not carry the weight that Scripture has placed on them.


Worship is the comprehensive duty and blessing of the Christian life. Worship is glorifying God in the power of the Holy Spirit in response to God’s goodness and mercy shown through Jesus Christ. Through worship, God is ascribed the glory due to him by his people.[1] Apart from the Gospel, men and women remain in unrighteousness and may not approach God at all.[2]

Discipleship is the process of being formed as a follower of Christ. Jesus describes the process of discipleship as obedience through baptism upon regeneration and learning to observe his commandments from the saints before us.[3]


The connectedness of worship and discipleship is often overlooked. But, from the Old Testament and beyond God has prescribed a process of discipleship that cultivates worship. As Moses is preparing the people of God to enter Canaan, he gives the greatest commandment from God: knowing the truth of God’s identity, expressing love and obedience to him, and teaching the truth to the coming generations.[4] The marriage between worship and discipleship is also seen in the term Christian. Jesus followers in Antioch were first called Christians as a pejorative term as though they were little Christs.[5] People who were being regenerated by the Holy Spirit were worshipping the resurrected Christ, and they were compelled to live in such a way that their lives reflected the life of Jesus, their Savior and Lord.


This is the space that is little explored today. As we corporately and privately bring glory to our risen Savior, the Holy Spirit works within our hearts to be formed after our Savior. When we sing together, the members of the body of Christ are calling each other to acknowledge and bring praise to the true, holy God. Furthermore, each Christian is calling every other Christian present to pursue holiness outside of the Lord’s Day gathering. As we read the Scriptures, confess sins, are assured of salvation, and look more like Jesus with each day, we bring glory to God within our spiritual formation.


The process of being attentive to the ways our flesh has been formed by the world, repenting, and following Jesus closer than before is the catalyst of true worship and true discipleship. Bring God the glory due to him through living in such a way you reflect Jesus to the world around you.


 

Recommended Reading


I would recommend what has been called a “spiritual audit” as you begin the process of worshipping and being formed in a more intentional way. The best way I have accomplished this is by meditating through a section heading of the Sermon on the Mount one day at a time. This sermon is the Christian life described by Christ himself.


I also recommend going chapter-by-chapter through Romans with a mature believer. Romans goes through the gamut of the Christian life, and reading this book alone may seem a daunting task. I hope this encourages you and edifies you. May you make much of Jesus.



Jerry Bridges: Pursuit of Holiness

Disciplines of Grace

James K.A. Smith: The Cultural Liturgies Trilogy

You are What You Love

Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life

Jared C. Wilson: The Imperfect Disciple


 

[1] Psalm 75; Exodus 20:2-6; John 4:21-24; Romans 12:1-2 are all great descriptions and prescriptions of Christian worship

[2] Romans 3

[3] Matthew 28:18-20

[4] Deuteronomy 6

[5] Acts 11:19-26

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