Discipline of Worship {Book Club Thursdays}


We’re jumping into Barbara Hughes’, Disciplines of a Godly Woman (affil. link).
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I hope you’re ready for the ride, because it’s going to be filled with encouragement, insight, and God-inspired wisdom.

Chapter 5: Discipline of Worship, Submission’s Celebration

We’ve talked about Discipline for Godliness and how its true starting point requires the Discipline of the Gospel. We’ve discussed how the Discipline of Submission is the posture in which we surrender to God’s will. We looked at the Discipline of Prayer and how it is the lifeline God extends to us that we might know Him and that we might walk in fellowship with Him.

These four disciplines position our heart for this week’s chapter: Discipline of Worship, Submission’s Celebration. Many are turned off by the idea of bending their knees and lifting their arms in “worship”, and so they exclude this discipline from their lives. Because “worship” is weird and “I’m just not into that kind of stuff”. Some don’t know where to start. Others don’t see the point.

I get it. There’s so much out there regarding worship and what it should look or be like. It can get a bit confusing. So, rather than talk about the way “right worship” looks like, let’s look at the heart behind our worship. Yes?

More Than Just a Sunday Activity

In the Old Testament worship included God’s people bringing a sacrificial lamb (or specific animal) to the temple. There, the priest would present it unto God for the atonement of the people’s sin.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ walks into the scene and He both reveals and fulfills that which was spoken and done through the Scriptures before him. He becomes the sacrificial lamb and the High Priest. His death on calvary is the perfect sacrificial atonement for our sins and the pathway to heaven. His resurrection, three days later, conquers death and becomes the proof that what He said was true, and that He will return for us. And as if that were not enough, He fills us with His Holy Spirit which is the seal, indicating we belong to Him until He returns for us.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judahnot according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away,” (Hebrews 8:7-13).

Oh, friends, what a beautiful truth we hold onto. Worship takes on a broader picture. We enter into direct relationship with Jesus through His work on the cross. His law is now written in our minds and hearts and our worship is no longer isolated to an event performed by a priest. Rather, it encompasses all our life–every part of our being. And the most beautiful part? We get to know God personally, intimately, fully.

Romans 12:1 shows us how this New Covenant changes everything, “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship,” (NASB).

Worship springs forth out of this knowledge.

“Every single time I confess my self-reliance and submit my life to God’s will in a particular area, I am worshipping God–as surely as any sincere Israelite offering a lamb in obedience to God’s plan,” (p.56)

So, what about those Sunday morning worship services?

Sunday Morning Worship

“There are no longer sacred times or sacred spaces… Christians are to worship God all the time under the new covenant. That is essentially the message of this book–worshipping God through reverent submission in all of life. Corporate worship, what we do Sunday morning, is simply a particular expression of a life of continual worship,” (p. 56). 

For the Christian, gathering together with other believers is a part of life. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect coming together. And in 1 Timothy 4:13 Paul exhorts Timothy to devote himself to “the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” We also have God’s promise, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them,” (Matthew 18:20).

How can the discipline of worship help us in corporate worship?


Practically, we can prepare our hearts and our schedule to smooth over Sunday mornings. One thing I try to practice, which Barbara mentions, is preparing for Sunday the night before. Taking simple steps, such as getting your Sunday outfit ready and planning what you will have for breakfast, will help remove some of the stress and hurriedness we experience Sunday mornings. This is especially true for us mommas. Preparation is key as it helps smooth out the next morning, and gives us a better place from which to address any unexpected events that might unfold with our kids.

Barbara adds that coming to an agreement with the family about what time you will get up and getting to bed the night before at a reasonable time will help greatly.

Once our practical needs are met, it’s important to ensure that our hearts are also prepared for worship.

“Pray about the Lord’s Day–for the service, the music, the pastors, your own family, and yourself. Ideally, you’ll be able to share a quick time of family prayer before you leave the house on Sunday morning. Ask that the Lord be glorified and that He speak to each family member. If you can make these changes to your weekend pattern, your Sunday worship will undoubtedly improve.”

This simple step of praying together as a family before leaving the house takes us to our next way of preparation. Be expectant.


What would if look like if we went to church expecting that God will speak to us? What would it look like if we believed that God has given the shepherd of the house (your pastor) a message especially for you? Before leaving the house, prepare your heart with expectation. Enter into the house of worship with an eager heart to hear. Be expectant. Then, listen closely as God meets and exceeds that expectation.


Discipline of Worship

How do we walk out the Discipline of Worship? How can we give God worship that is pleasing to him? Let’s consider these few areas that are vital to God-pleasing worship.


Jesus tells us in John 4:24 that we must “worship in spirit and in truth.” Worshipping “in truth” means that we come informed by the objective revelation of God’s Word about the great God we serve and the precepts He has spoken. In this sense our worship is governed by what we know and believe about God. The better informed we are, the better we can worship. We should be familiar with, and take to heart, passages such as Genesis 1, Psalm 139, the book of Job, Isaiah 6 and 45, John 7, John 17, Romans 1-3, Revelation 19, and others in order to prepare for God-centered worship.

This knowledge of God through His Word ought to heighten our expectations and instill healthy fear and reverence,” (p. 59).


If we want to know God, we must look at Christ, who according to Colossians 1:15, is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Verses 16 to 18 continue with, For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”


Remember how Paul exhorted Timothy to devote himself to “the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching”? Paul understood the importance of coming together, not around our own ideas and philosophies, but around the truth of Scripture. This was to be a central part of the believer’s gathering.

Jesus also mentions the importance of the Word when He was being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. His response: “It is written, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'”, (Matthew 4:4).


What we do on Sundays should help equip us to serve God throughout the week. Worship–whether by oneself at home, in the workplace, classroom, or with the church gathered–is consecration. Worship is serving God every day: “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship,’ (Romans 12:1),” (p. 62).

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The Discipline of Worship makes way for celebration in the life of the believer. As we look to discipline our lives so that worship is done with reverence, understanding, expectation, and in spirit and truth, we grow and mature in our relationship with Christ and in our knowledge of God. Without the discipline of worship, we miss one of the greatest privileges and commands of our Christian faith: giving God all honor and glory!

I encourage you to go through the Scriptures shared here (and in this chapter). Allow God to teach you how true worship can look in your life. Then meet me here next week when we’ll talk about the Discipline of Mind.

{Thoughts to Ponder}

Q1: After reading 1 Samuel 15:22 and Romans 12:1, how is it possible to feel worshipful and not truly be worshipping? How is our obedience an act of worship?

Q2: What could you do to be spiritually prepared on Sunday mornings for service?

**Some discussion questions taken from Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. All quotes by Barbara Hughes unless otherwise noted. 

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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

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