For the last 17 years, I've been on a journey to learn all I can about what true worship really is. I studied, taught and listened to others teach about worship.
And do you know what I have learned? Worship is not complicated. On the contrary, it is quite simple.
Worship starts with God's love. As we receive His love for us, we respond to that love. Our relationship with Him must be based on the understanding that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16, NKJV).
If worship is not built on a solid foundation, our Christian walk will be like riding a roller coaster. One day we are up and declaring how good God is. Then before we know it, we're on the top looking down at the first huge plunge, crying, "O God, where are You?"
Why do so many Christians have this kind of walk? I believe it's because we have misunderstood the precious gift of worship. In the church it has become a time-filler in a service rather than a lifestyle.
Worship is not something you do; it is who God created you to be. He is after YOU, not your worship songs. He wants YOU to be the song. He wants YOU to be the worship.
I have passed hundreds of church marquees inviting people to "come and worship." People come, but all they do is hear a message. They never worship.
Of course, having worship services is not the problem. The problem is a mind-set. Too many Christians operate on the paradigm that worship happens at a place--a building called church--and that it happens at a certain time--on Sundays.
Worship isn't a service; worship is a lifestyle. We have to learn how to become worship rather than having a time of worship.
You begin by loving Jesus purely and wholeheartedly in response to His love for you. Demonstrate your love for Him through praise, song and other expressions of adoration, through your obedience to His Word, and through your love for other people.
Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to worship "in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). Let your whole being become the instruments and the songs of worship as you "give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; [and] worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (Ps. 29:2).
Sam Hinn is senior pastor of The Gathering Place in Sanford, Florida, and the author of Kissing the Face of God, published by Charisma House, from which this article is adapted.