This third article of the series on the impact of true worship on all of life introduces the consequences of true worship. The impact of genuine worship is summarized into three qualities of life: worship and conduct (right relationships), worship and unity, and worship and sharing one’s faith with others (evangelism). The focus of this article is on worship and conduct. We have already made the point that worship must issue in right living or it is false or empty. How then does worship affect how one lives on a daily basis? The second article on false worship observed the following points:
The prophet Isaiah gives a vivid picture of false fasting which is equally applicable to false worship. He writes: the people ask, “Why should we fast if the Lord never notices? Why should we go without food if he pays no attention?” The Lord says to them, “The truth is that at the same time you fast you pursue your own interests and oppress your workers. Your fasting makes you violent and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this kind of fasting will make me listen to your prayers?… The kind of fasting I want is this: remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear and do not refuse to help your own relatives. Them my favor will shine on you like the morning sun and your wounds will quickly be healed” (Isaiah 58:3-8). Though this passage was primarily about fasting, its message applies to all of our religious duties such worship, Bible study, prayer meeting, and giving to the Church and the needy. They must be followed by right living. They must issue into healthy relationships and the promotion of justice, peace and empowerment for all. Therefore true worship must not be divorced from right living and right practice. Any worship short of this is empty and false.
Worship should fill us with the zeal and zest to do good works: works of mercy, justice and personal and communal peace. Christian believers go to worship in order to recharge their spiritual batteries, to be reminded of what they ought to do everyday and every second of every hour. Worship ought to make one a better husband, wife, child, neighbor or person at home, at work and at play. It enables us to have and maintain right relationships with God and the neighbor. True worship and right living go hand in hand.
It is therefore wrong to come from Church threatening war and all sorts of evil. A story is told of a lady who was fussing with a neighbor (abusing and threatening) and told the neighbor, “Let me go to Church and come back and you will see what I will do to you” (implying more insults and threats of violence). A certain lady came from Bible study with her Bible still under her arm and started raging for a minor misdemeanor she met at home. Her husband reminded her, “Please put down the Bible before you do your devilish work. Remember, you are just coming from Bible study” and she was ashamed of herself! No, the attitudes of these women cannot express the aftermath of true worship. Genuine worship teaches us to live better and serve God and the neighbor better.
True worship leads to right living and right living is an expression of true worship. We cannot therefore afford to come from a worship Service filled with hatred, jealousy, bitterness, war and immoral thoughts and desires. A worship Service prepares us for loving deeds and not for evil. The worship Service ends with a dismissal or closing prayer but true worship continues in the lives of true worshippers in the forms of honesty, sharing, caring for others, and promoting justice for all. True worship must therefore undergird and influence our decision making and every thought and deed of ours. Being God-conscious in every aspect of our lives and not only when we are in Church and other Church activities is a mark of true worship. True worship is about how we live on a daily basis—how we react to situations and treat other people. The mark of true worship is right living with God, fellow human beings and the environment.