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What Worship Ought Be

Three Broad Goals of the Worship Lifestyle
 (Categories for Worship Consideration)

Below, I suggest three “ought’s” related to worship. In doing so, at the same time, you need to stay aware of the reality that Ought-ness is a tricky issue.
I heard some place someone say that when we use the terms “ought” and “should” we put things and issues into the realm of morality. And that’s not always correct or emotionally healthy. You best not say to a work associate, “Oh, you ought not have spoken so harshly to that delivery person.” May be should have, because the delivery person was wrong to be 30 minutes late. Or, to a church friend, “Oh, you shouldn’t feel that way about incident.” Maybe they should have been outraged by the abusive treatment they received.
OUGHT-ness is a tricky area.


At the same time, you have heard the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer emphasize that human kind–given the moral beings that we, the fallen beings we remain in this life, and the fallen but free choice we possess–always have the choice between doing ‘what we ought do’ and ‘what we can do.’ That choice–between ‘what we ought do’ and ‘what we can do’–is always essential to consider. I must frequently face issues and situations that force me to choose between what I know I can do (and probably can get away with, and still preserve my reputation), and what I ought do to do; that which is right in terms of Godly righteousness (whether or not I can get away with it)..
Well, I vote with Schaeffer. Ought-ness is something the believer must face, especially in the area of worship . . . because we are dealing with the highest of moral issues, the issue of worship.


Three Things Worship Ought Be
I’m convinced there stand three oughts related to worship. I’m convinced of these oughts by virtue of the Bible’s presumptions about worship, about life before the Fall, about the LORD’s redemptive (reclamation) program, and about our ultimate state-of-relating-with-God in eternity.
So in summary we could say that:

First, worship is the environment in which we were created to live . . . and therefore, the realm which we ought strive to live in each moment of the day (e.g. Hebrews 9: 14).
Second, worship is the core focus we were created to hold . . . and therefore, the center we ought strive to maintain from each moment to the next (e.g. John 6:38-40).
Third, worship is the lifestyle we were created to manifest . . . and therefore, the reservoir we ought strive to draw from for every endeavor of life (e.g. Romans 12:1).


Keep these broad definitions related to worship in mind, and you will move much more quickly on your way to clearing much confusion that surrounds the topic of worship; and at the same time move on in developing a more healthy lifestyle of worship.

Suggested Reading
Engaging God; A Biblical Theology of Worship, by David Peterson. Grand Rapids, MI
Eerdmans Publishing, 1992
Desiring God; Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, by John Piper. Portland, OR
Multnomah Press. 1986 (Specifically Chapters One, Two, & Three
Experiencing God; How to Live the Adventure of Knowing and Doing God’s Will [the book, not the workbook], by Henry Blackaby. Nashville, TN. Broadman & Holmes. 1994 (Specifically Chapters Seven, Eight, & Nine)

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