The term “worship” carries the sense of worthiness and honor. Webster adds that it is “To adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration” in his 1828 English Dictionary.

The Bible teaches that it is idolatry and wickedness to worship any other than the one True and Living God. In Matthew chapter four, after having fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, Jesus is tempted by Satan and is offered the lusts of the flesh and the eyes and the pride of life.

The Devil reminds Christ of “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” in verse eight. He promises the Lord: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” in verse nine. Jesus refers to the supremacy of Bible wisdom in the next verse by stating: “it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou

Satan is the one who will eventually “fall down” after his age-old time of deception is ended. Isaiah writes of Lucifer’s lust of worship in chapter 14. He declares five presumptuous “I wills” in verses 13 and 14: “ascend into heaven; exalt my throne above the stars of God; sit also upon the mount; ascend above the heights;” and “I will be like the most High.” Isaiah
prophesies the true end and destiny of the Devil in verse 15: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell.”

Jesus Christ is God, the Creator of all things brought down to man as a baby of less than 10 pounds, most likely, and under two feet in length. The Psalmist writes in 45: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre” (verse six). The correlation is given in Hebrews 1:8: “But unto the Son he (God) saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

God adds that He “hath anointed thee (Christ) with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” in verse nine, just as He had written it in Psalm 45:7.

Jesus accepted worship. He would not have tolerated worship if it were not right. The elect angels refused to accept worship (Revelation 19:10), as did the Apostles (Acts 14:15). Christ was repeatedly worshipped, however, and the Bible does not record any instance in which he corrected or refused it (Matthew 8:2, 9:18, 14:33).

The Lord Jesus tells the Pharisees that He is the good shepherd and that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Only the God of the Bible is worthy of worship. Moses penned: “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 33:14). There is nothing wrong in being jealous for that which is yours. A man who is not jealous for his bride ought to become such – as God is for His.

Worship is vain if based upon the commandments of men. That kind of shallow exercise is performed by vain thinkers whose “heart is far from me,” said the Lord in Matthew 15:8,9. Paul writes in Colossians 2:8 and 9: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” We should worship the Godly Trinity because, as Paul continues in Colossians 2:10: “And ye are complete in him (Christ), which is the head of all principality and power.”

We must have a scheduled and consistent intake of the Word of God into our lives! Bible reading, study and memorization will keep our worship on the right track. As we focus on the leadership of Christ, our worship will conform us more to Him, day by day. We will not need to then have the assistance of worship “bands,” “groups” or “dancers” at church to entice us into something we have no desire for in our hearts. Mark refers to Isaiah when he pens in Mark 7:6, “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

Christians can easily become so involved with “church work” that we lose track of the real “work of the church,” which is to exemplify Christ and broadcast the Gospel. Our study, prayers and faithfulness must be toward the end of having others receive Christ as their personal Savior. We will lose our way in all the putter and clutter of ritual and ceremony if we do not first get into the Scriptures. It is there that our heads are cleared and our thinking is corrected.

Christmastime is perhaps the most vulnerable month of all. We have programs, plays and productions to perform. Everything physical must be “just right” – from the music to the microphones and all the memorizations in between. We want this to be a time remembered by all. We put everything into it – except God. As a result, we will not have the spiritual mindset to “be ye kind to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

How fickle and quarrelsome we can become, even in our attempts to be “spiritual.” Our carnality will rise to the top as we fight and snap at the rehearsal preparations – even as Christians! We so quickly abandon any thought of worship as we climb aboard a “warship” and seek to have our vision projected into the services. We want this production to be better than the one last year, and nobody else has a handle on it like we do. We have it all in our minds, and it will need to go exactly that way if it is to be impressive. God may not be impressed.

Joseph and Mary were coming to Bethlehem, where God’s Son was to be born. The youthful actors had practiced their parts repeatedly. The innkeeper was to tell the young couple that there was no room at the inn for them that night – which he did. As they walked away dejectedly, the 8-year-old brought the script up to where his heart was by blurting out:
“But you can stay in my room!” That spontaneous line was all that could be talked about the rest for the evening. The program director did not need to be embarrassed. I wonder if Jesus could stay in our hearts, just now? Emily E.S. Elliott penned in the late 1800s my favorite Christmas song on this subject:

“Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,\
When Thou comest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
When the heavens shall ring, and the angels sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, Saying ‘Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.’
O Come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room at my heart for Thee.”

Jesus came to us as Bethlehem’s babe long ago. He came as Savior, having grace for all who receive Him. More to be anticipated is the truth that He will suddenly come for His own and whisk them away to be with Him forever.

Now is the best time ever available for you to be able to say with our chorus of the final verse: “My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, When Thou comest and callest for me.”

Call upon Him now, so He can call upon you then!

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.