Worship is what is evoked by the presence of God. It is a response, not a self-initiated, creative activity on our part. Worship is the only activity that can involve the totality of our personality without any residue. All other relationships are partial. Worship is always extravagant; Elders throw down their crowns, Mary pours out precious ointment, people prostrate themselves. We don’t worship for what we can “get out of it”
Worship is the submission of all our nature to God:
- The quickening of the conscience by His holiness
- The nourishment of mind with His truth
- The purifying of imagination by His beauty
- The opening of the heart to His love
- The surrender of the will to His purpose.
All this is gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable, and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.
-Edmund Clowney. “unpublished sermon,” in Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 156.