Worship the Lord with Gladness

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“Worship the Lord with gladness…” Psalm 100:2

I am, generally speaking, a pretty happy girl.

There are lots of things I do with gladness.  I will gladly sit down and snuggle on the couch to watch a movie (or skip the movie and just snuggle) with my hubby!  I will gladly watch my kids do any of the endless things they love to do – baseball, football, soccer, horseback riding, drama, basketball, volleyball…you get my drift.  I will gladly meet a friend for lunch, coffer or just to chat. And am beyond glad if she suggests a day of shopping.  I will gladly sit and read an entire book in one day.  I will gladly hang out on the driveway with the neighbors and just catch up.  I will gladly sit with a friend who is hurting, even when the conversation is hard and I don’t know what to say.  I will gladly spend the day at the computer, sharing my heart and what God is teaching me through the power of the internet.  I will gladly stand up before a group and speak the message of the Gospel.

But when it comes to just God and I, when it’s just between the two of us, do I worship Him with gladness? This little phrase from Psalm 100:2 caught my attention this week and has forced me to ask the question…

Do I worship the Lord with gladness?

There are two forms of the English word “worship” in Greek.  Biblical scholars translate the Greek word proskyneō  to “worship” in English.  It means to bow down to, as an act of allegiance or to kneel in reverence or awe.  Scholars also translate the Greek word latreuō  into “worship”.  This word means to minister or to serve in religious duties or religious rites.  These two words, with two very different meanings and connotations, are both translated into the same English word, “worship”.  In one sense, we are called to “worship” God through an act of allegiance; kneeling before him in reverence and awe; recognizing that he is a superior being, our creator and our God; and giving Him the adoration He deserves.   In the other sense, we are called to “worship” God through our actions; we are called to serve Him, to do something in response to who He is and all He has done for us.  These acts of service to him might include reading His Word, singing praise to Him, praying to Him.  They might include loving others in response to His love for us, caring for the orphans and widows, and following His commands.

Regardless of which definition of worship you find yourself doing, and honestly we are called to do both, you should do it with gladness. According to Psalm 100 worship should not be done grudgingly.  It should not be done out of sheer obedience or even fear of God.  Worship should be done with gladness, with joy.

Honestly, there are times I will literally fall on my knees, forehead to the floor (yes, I look like a fool, but usually no one is watching) in worship to God.  HE MADE THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!! And he knows my name!!!  I can’t help but be in awe of that.  It is with gladness that I fall on my knees and praise him, adore him, hold him in awe!

But unfortunately, there are other times, when I sit before God because I know I am supposed to.  Yes there is reverence, perhaps a little awe, but there is very little gladness.  I am there because I am supposed to be.  Because I know He wants me to be, even though He also knows full well there are lots of other places I would rather be.  In moments like this, I might be worshipping the Lord but I am not doing with gladness.

Then again there are times when I am writing or preparing to speak or teaching my kids, when I am overjoyed that I get to do this for God.  I feel Him beside me, I know I am doing what He wants me to do and I am so,so, SO glad that I get to do it.  It  is with utter gladness that I offer up these acts of worship to Him.

And then there are times when I roll my eyes at the endless list of tasks before me.  Knowing I need to read the Bible and pray and write and read some more and share AND encourage my kids AND support my husband… and the list goes on and on and on…all in the name of Jesus… and I am exhausted and overwhelmed and ungrateful and certainly not glad at all the ways I am being called to “worship” to God…sheesh!  HOW NEEDY CAN ONE GOD BE!!

Ok, ok, I’ve calmed down. But surely I am not the only one who feels this way am I?  am I? (it just got REALLY quiet around here.)

My God is an awesome God who has made it quite clear throughout His Scripture that He doesn’t “need” anything.  He’s God.  I GET to worship Him, through reverence and through actions, because He made me.  He created me to worship Him and He has given me, and you, some awesome ways to do that.  Shouldn’t we do it with gladness?

Though it’s not always easy, I encourage you to worship the Lord with gladness.