I noted from my study of Matthew 4:1-11 that Satan’s temptations often comprise a combination of real need and a possible doubt that abets an inappropriate desire. Jesus was tempted on the three areas of worldliness (1 John 2:16), that Adam and Eve were originally tempted, characterised by three attitudes that begin in the heart.
Jesus’ answers to the temptations were amazing. His answers focused on God’s purpose – “People do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”; God’s plan – “You must not test the Lord your God” and God’s person – “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him”.
He had used Scriptures to answer Satan. His answer to the first temptation dwells on the importance of living by Scriptures. His second answer was in response to Satan’s misapplication of Scriptures to tempt Him to test God’s plan or promises. However, to me, Jesus’ answer to Satan’s third temptation is profound and all-encompassing and helps put our life in perspective and is instructive to all disciples in their walk with Christ. Jesus told Satan, “You must worship the Lord your God and serve Him only”.
I find the observation by Ravi Zacharias in his book, “The Grand Weaver” on the nature of worship and its connection to the way one should live consciously before God, very helpful. Two key terms are used in the bible to describe worship — to “bow down” and to “serve”. Plainly put, worship means “reverence and action.” Therefore worship includes service. Ravi wrote that “worship is coextensive with life” and that worship is ultimately “seeing life God’s way.” It is exclusionary, i.e. you cannot compromise on worship.
Our acts of worship every Sunday in church include — singing praises to God and giving thanks for His goodness; participating in the Holy Communion to remember Jesus’ saving grace for us on the cross; communing with God in prayer; teaching of Scriptures from the pulpit and the congregation receiving God’s message; and giving back to God a part of the abundance that He has given us, for the extension of His Kingdom.
During Holy Communion, we want to bow down in reverence to Jesus Christ and account to Him, how we are grateful recipients of His saving grace. It is a solemn moment for individual to examine his/her heart relationship with Jesus and for affirmation of his/her unity with the Body of Christ.
Worship begins within one as an individual and must continue within one as part of a family and the community. Worship requires us to get to know God’s design for the family and for the Body of Christ. Ravi wrote that worship embraces unity in the diversity of a community as there is community and unity in the diversity of the Trinity. I cannot be a Christian in isolation. God meant me to be a part of the Body of Christ, a community who has received His grace.
Remember Ephesians 4:16b – “as each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love”.
Our God wants to be intimate with us. He desires that we know His Scriptures. Worship cannot do without effective and regular communion with Him through Scriptures, and our prayers. Jesus invites us to follow Him and learn from Him and God has provided the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth.
God also meant for us to continue to be worshipful outside the church for the other six days of the week, and carry our worshipful heart wherever we go, be it at home, school, work or play to bring glory to His name. Ephesian 6:7 told us to work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
When we intentionally and authentically worship and serve God, will we not increasingly overcome our sinful nature and be the image that He has made us to be?
By Lum Weng Kiong (YCKC Bulletin 8&9 October 2016)