The Christmas story says a lot about the nature of true worship. We can say that God sent Christ into the world so that we could have unfettered opportunity to worship Him. However, worship is misunderstood today as a place and time (“the Worship Service starts at…”) or an experience or element of a gathering (“the worship was great today”). We find a great definition of true worship in Mary’s song in Luke 1:46-55.
Worship is humble surrender born out of knowledge of God.
Mary’s worship demonstrated three things:
- Humility – “It’s not about me.”
Real worship starts with the reality that life is about HIS value, and then wonder that I can be accepted, cared for, given to, by such an incredible God. Mary says, “my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant” Luke 1:46-47. Mary demonstrates for us that the proper attitude in worship and in life is, “It’s not about me. It’s about Him.” And, “Who me? I get to be part of this?”
- Surrender – “Lord, my life is Yours.”
Mary was a true worshiper because her heart was surrendered. In Luke 1:38 she said, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your Word.” In Luke 1:48, she again calls herself “His servant.” The word here is literally bond-slave denoting one that has intentionally surrendered themselves to be in servitude to another. To surrender is to make your whole self available to God for whatever He desires. It’s to say to God, “Your way is best. I’m listening. I’m ready to respond with yes.” The opposite of surrender is to resist, to fight, to struggle, to run away, to make our way best and essentially ourselves god, which is idolatry. Mary’s worshiped with a heart that was without resistance.
- Knowledge of God – “He has done great things for me, and holy is His name” Luke 1:49.
In this song, Mary shows us that she knows God’s word, has a deep understanding of God’s purposes, knows His work in history, and that she’s internalized His promises to be for her and all that has led her to worship Him.
What has God done for you? How has God worked in your life? You can’t worship what you don’t know. Humility and surrender will open your life to know and experience God, which will lead you to a life of worshiping Him.
So, is life all about you? Is there resistance in your heart when it comes to the will of God? Can you point to God’s work in your life? If not, during this Christmas season, humble yourself, surrender your heart and will, and get to know His story. Worship Him.