What is discipleship, anyway? There could be a number of answers to this question, but central to what it means is that Jesus becomes Lord of my life in daily practice. James Smith defines it this way:

In short, if you are what you love, and love is a habit, then discipleship is a rehabituation of your loves. This means that discipleship is more a matter of reformation than of acquiring information. The learning that is fundamental to Christian formation is affective and erotic, a matter of “aiming” our loves, of orienting our desires to God and what God desires for his creation.[1]

When I worship, this process is almost automatic. When I sing, “He is Lord!” He becomes Lord in my daily decisions. I come to realize He is God and I am not; He is boss, I am slave; He is King, I am servant. Hours and hours of complicated Greek Bible studies won’t get that in your head and heart like a good hour of worship.

A church I was a member of at one stage in life did a night of worship once in a while. We called it T.G.O.F. — Thank God on Friday. The service consisted of about two and a half hours of uninterrupted worship. Uninterrupted, with the exception of an intermission about half-way through. (The heart cannot absorb what the seat cannot endure.)

It was glorious. I was telling a friend once that I thought that is what Heaven will be like—unending adoration of our glorious God. Hands lifted. Voice raised. We will all be able to sing like Chris Tomlin. We will sing loud. We will jump and shout and dance in the presence of the Lord. Even Baptists will dance. Wow. Hour after hour, day after day. My friend surprised me with his response. “I think that sounds awful.” It was at that moment that I began to wonder if he were the Christian he professed to be.

Another odd thought occurred to me. If God were to allow everyone into Heaven, it would only be heavenly for those whose hearts have been changed. For my friend, Heaven would be Hell for him, by his own admission. It occurs to me that Heaven and Hell could be the same place—the place of manifest, inescapable, palpable presence of God. For those who have come to love God, having Him so real we can touch Him will be Heaven. For those who spend their life running from God, there will be no place to run. No place to hide. They can’t get away. It will be hell.

Worship gets it clear in my head and heart who is Boss. It does at least one other thing.

[1] James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016).


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