Worship means: to regard with extravagant respect, honor, or devotion. When we worship, we enter into the courts of Heaven through thanksgiving, honor, and praise. (Psalm 100:4)
In moments of my own despair it was all I could do to get out of bed. Some days the ache of loneliness was so present I would be physically sick. But in these moments, I was moved to press in. Worship became the antidote to the driving lust of my flesh—for the Holy Spirit had given me a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13) The greater my pain the louder I sang. My strength was found through worship. The music would ring throughout my house, or in my car, or wherever I was, and I wouldn’t stop until my encounter with Jesus was greater than the obstacle I faced.
I found when I was gaining ground and pressing toward freedom, I’d experience great torment shortly after. So I’d continue to press on in bold worship. The bible says that when we exalt the name of Jesus, every demon must bow, every shadow must come into the light, and the darkness of torment must flee. (James 4:7, Philippians 2:9-11) Worship is the gateway to our connection with the Holy Spirit. Heaven falls all around us and we are lifted above our circumstances into an intimate exchange with Jesus. Once my eyes meet his, the troubles and temptations of this world fade away.
In Acts 7, we see this displayed beautifully by one of my bible heroes, Stephen. After having given the Jewish leaders a difficult word from the Lord they became furious with him. The threat of death was near. “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. He told them, ‘Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!’”
It says he “gazed steadily”. He had a fixed, unwavering admiration of a sight set on Heaven. Just shortly after this moment, he was dragged away and stoned to his death, but his gaze never wavered. I imagine this moment myself. The moment where our eyes are opened through our worship and we get to see in. All of the sudden, what is happening externally cannot compare with the glory being revealed to us in this moment.
May we find comfort in this truth—that whatever life brings us, we are never without the possibility of a heavenly encounter when we exalt the name of Jesus above our circumstance.