Worship with Will

April 22, 2021


By Erin Bird

Alright, let's get back to our series called From the Heart where we are studying the biblical idea of your "heart" (not the blood pumping organ) and how it helps you worship God. In the previous two weeks of the series, we've seen how the "heart" is the seat of your emotions as well as your thoughts. This week, we get to see your heart's "will."

The Oxford Dictionary defines a human's will as "the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action."We see the Scripture provide a foundation for this definition in Proverbs 16:

The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
(Proverbs 16:1)

The heart of man plans his way,

but the Lord establishes his steps.(Proverbs 16:9)

The reason man makes his plans from his "heart" is because he was designed this way by God. In the book of Genesis, God created Adam and Eve with this "heart" to make decisions:

With their God-given will, the first humans made decisions, and put those plans into action. Likewise, whenever you make a decision and then put that plan into action, you are exercising your God-given will.

  • Headed to the gym to work out? Your will helped you make the decision to go.
  • Turning off the TV to head to bed? Your will is what you used to push the remote's OFF button.
  • Saying "no" to dessert? Again, that's your will in action.

So with this in mind, let's talk about worship.

Worship with Who?
No, I'm not talking about singing songs to God with a friend named William. I am talking about using your "will" to worship God.

It is my belief that because God designed humans with a will, we should use that will to worship Him (and not use it to eat forbidden fruit!). After all, it is your will you use to get up, get dressed, and go to the Worship Gathering on Sundays. It is your will you use when you sit down to read the Scriptures. It is your will you use when you serve a neighbor or give a generous donation to help a person or organization.

In other words, your will is a key part of your worship of God.

But sometimes, if I'm being honest, I don't always "feel" like doing some of those things. My sin-corrupted will can sometimes be selfish and tempt me to not worship God, but rather worship self or something else.

Thankfully, if you are a follower of Jesus, you are not alone when you exercise your will to worship God. Romans 8:11 informs us that, if you have placed your faith in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection for the redemption of your sin, "the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you." This is why the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 2:13 that "it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

This means that exercising your will to worship God is more about surrender than effort. It isn't about mustering up the strength and courage to worship. Rather it is about submitting yourself to God, allowing His Spirit to move your will/heart to give Him attention and glory even when you may not exactly feel like doing so.

One last thing: When you use your heart's will to worship God consistently, it begins to become a pattern, a part of who you are, making it easier and more exciting to worship God rather than an internal battle. So let me encourage you today to do at least one small act of worship no matter your mood. It might be...

  • spending a moment contemplating a Bible verse
  • singing a song in your heart while doing chores or driving
  • stopping for 60 seconds to pray for a friend
  • or simply celebrating throughout your day by praying "God, thank you for Jesus."

So may you worship God "willfully,"making a decision then acting upon that plan to give God glory and thanks in the midst of your everyday.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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