For many years I was not excited about worship. I enjoyed singing songs in church, and there were times I was moved by songs during worship. Yet, for me worship tended to be more about the songs than about whom the songs were about. All my thoughts about worship seemed to revolve around the melody or rhythm of a song I particularly liked. Worship, which by definition is about someone else, was all about me.
Continuing the Joy to the World Blog series, we come to the second verse of this wonderful Christmas hymn.
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
Jesus the savior reigns! The truth that Jesus is our savior moves people to worship and all of creation echoes that worship.
Let Everything that Has Breath
The last verse of the last Psalm (150) says this, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”
Jesus is deserving of all humanity’s worship and praise. This was true at creation and at Christ’s birth where wise men and shepherds came to worship him.
Paul writes in Philippians 2 writes, “Therefore, God gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth…”
Jesus is deserving of every person’s worship. Every knee will bow either willingly in this life or reluctantly in the next.
Let Everything that Doesn’t Have Breath:
The worship of Christ is most glorious among his people, but it is not limited to us. All of his creation will worship him.
Have you ever watched a beautiful sunset, or looked out on a vast ocean, or saw the stars bright above, or hiked up a mountain to gaze at a breathtaking view? In any of those moments did you ever feel you were experiencing a taste of heaven? It’s because God made this world and he made you to enjoy it. The beauty of his creation screams his name in worship.
In his fascinating book The Great Christ Comet, Colin Nicholl argues that the star that lead the wise men to Jesus was the greatest comet of recent millennia. The night of Christ birth he explains there was an extravagant meteor shower. If we would have seen the celestial drama being played out at Christ’s birth we too would have thought,
“Star of wonder star of night
Star of royal, beauty, bright
Westward leading still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light.”
Psalm 19:1-4 says it well,
“The heavens declare the glory of God….There is no literal speech, nor are there literal words…Yet their voice goes out into all the earth.”
What Changed For Me:
Jesus is deserving of all worship from humanity and creation for many reasons. However, there is one particular facet of Christ’s glory that significantly grows our desire to worship. Christ as savior. The reason creation is to repeat the sounding joy is because the savior reigns!
Several years ago I began to grasp the cross more deeply. The humbling truths of the gospel began to sink in. Truths such as: Christ died in my place to forgive me of my sins, he took the punishment and death I deserved, all my sins have been paid for in full, I’ve been credited the perfect obedient life of Christ, and Christ is conforming me to his image. It hit me: God provided everything I could possibly need. There was nothing left to do but worship him, and suddenly I began to. It dawned on me that since Christ did everything for me he was deserving of all worship, praise, honor and glory. I remember a specific time I was driving my car thinking about this and for the first time I could remember it struck joy in my heart. I was glad, joyful, even zealous to see God worshiped and me forgotten. I could only do this because I had not been forgotten but significantly thought of by Christ. The joy of the cross so filled me that I couldn’t think of myself but overwhelmingly desired to bow at Jesus’ feet.
For those who need help getting joyful about worship, the cross is good medicine. I believe as we gaze deeply at the cross and the incarnation where Christ humbly emptied himself for our sake, we will start to get excited about worship. (Books are listed below to help with this) Then the picture painted in Revelation 5:11 will start to excite us where it says, “I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them saying, ‘to him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be honor and blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’”
To worship Jesus is true joy, indeed, Joy to the World.
**This is the second post in a series of 4 posts.**
Books to help deepen your understanding of the cross: