Do you know that your Bible houses a discipleship manual on how to live a lifestyle of worship? The book of Psalms contains a collection of poems, often set to music, that will help us cultivate a lifestyle of worship.
The Psalms uncover a wide range of emotions expressed as the people of God navigate the hills and valleys of life. For some, this is an invitation into a treasure trove of richness. Others will despise all the touchy-feely, emotional stuff.
Regardless of where you land on that spectrum, the disciple of Christ cannot ignore the book of Psalms. There are 3 vital lessons we must learn from the Psalms if we aspire to live a lifestyle of worship. And newsflash, every disciple of Christ should aspire to live a lifestyle of worship.
- Don’t dismiss the Psalms as mere sentiment.
In the title of many of the Psalms is a trail of clues. These clues lead us to the circumstances that surround each raw expression of faith. For example, Psalm 51 records David’s expression of repentance after being confronted by Nathan (see 2 Samuel 11-12). Psalm 51 is no mere sentiment.
Repentance, which is confessing our sin and turning from it to follow God’s way, is a vital part of living a lifestyle of worship. Psalm 51 models for us what an appropriate response is as another mature disciple calls out what is not fitting in our lives.
- Study the Psalms to learn more about the attributes of God.
Learn to read the Psalms with a specific set of lenses. As you read, ask yourself, “What does this passage tell me about the nature of God?” For example, in keeping with Psalm 51, just from the first verse we learn that God is a God of “steadfast love” and “abundant mercy.” Appealing to those characteristics of God’s nature, David cries out to God to “wash him thoroughly from his iniquity” and to “blot out his transgression.”
Reading on, we continue to learn from this single Psalm that God is a judge (see verse 4) and that He is a God of righteousness (see verse 14). When we start to mine the Psalms in this way, we gain a more accurate understanding of who God is. If we have a more accurate understanding of who God is, we are less likely to fashion Him in our image and likeness.
This way of looking at the Psalms can be a lens through which you look at all of Scripture. As a worship leader, I have used this exercise as a discipleship tool with my team to expand our understanding of who God is. This exercise becomes such an enriching way to abide in Christ. As we let the Word dwell in us richly (see Colossians 3:16), we grow in our scope of adoration for the fullness of who God is.
Check out this compilation of God’s attributes with accompanying Scripture references. Feel free to copy it, add to it, and make it your own with those you disciple. God’s Attributes
- Adopt the Psalms in your expressions of worship.
Read a Psalm a day. Better yet, pray through the Psalm as if it were your expression of praise, thanks, and adoration to God. As you get more familiar with the Psalms, you will learn to call to mind Psalms that might speak to a similar set of life circumstances.
As you admire a crystal-clear evening sky you can declare along with the Psalmist in Psalm 8:3-4:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
You can turn to Psalm 142:2 when you need to pour out your complaint before the Lord and take refuge in Him.
As disciples of Christ seeking to lead a lifestyle of worship, let us grow keenly familiar with the book of Psalms. May what we sing become an extension of what we live so that we have integrity as we show others what it means to live a lifestyle of worship.
by Jeremy Ellis – Worship Pastor
Real Life Ministries
Post Falls, ID