How Can I Change? Worship

Part of the “How Can I Change?” series. See the overviewsorrowaccountabilitythe churchradical measuresgratitudeconfessionhumilityspiritual disciplinesScripture intakeScripture intake 2, and prayer.


12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:12-17)

Definition: Worship is appropriately focusing on and responding to the worthy God

What is the passage saying?

Along with many other truths, this passage illuminates several key ideas concerning worship:

1. Worship is fueled by revelation (16a: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”)

2. Worship involves response (“teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”)

A. This must be internal (“with thankfulness in your hearts to God”)

B. This can be external (teaching, admonishing, singing, word, or deed)

C, This can be individually (“whatever you do”) or corporately (“one another”)

How is it connected to grace?

  • God graciously reveals himself to us and calls us to respond (in Creation, in Scripture, in Christ himself)
  • God graciously changes our hearts to worship him and not ourselves (Rom 1:19-23)
  • God graciously changes us into the image of the one we worship (Heb 13:20-21)

What will it look like in my life? (How does that actually help me change?)

Example: Your friend sits next to you regularly in church. You try not to be distracted, but you can’t help but lose concentration when he seems more interested in his phone than in the service. There is little to no singing. When the Scripture is read or prayer is made, you can actually feel the restlessness creeping down the pew. The listening to the preaching begins well, but soon the Bible on their phone is switched out to check on other pressing matters involving Facebook, Twitter, Fruit Ninja, and Weather. When you talk about church with him, you regularly hear, “I just never get anything out of it. I’m just not being fed.” How do you think a proper attitude of worship might change his following of Christ?

Example 2: Your friend reads her Bible regularly but she seems bored. It is a duty. There is no joy in doing it. What change in mindset could transform her personal time in the Word?


  • Put yourself in the place to receive revelation (reading, listening, come to services,
  • Prepare your mind to accept the revelation (pray, anticipate, get sleep the night before, pray before you come, listen, actively think through what is being said)
  • Be ready to respond to the revelation (prayer, song, words, and deeds. Pray God’s words back to him, sing to him and about him sincerely)


What can I Do?

  • What is your attitude about putting yourself in the place to receive revelation? (personal reading, corporate gatherings, etc)
  • What is one thing you could do in order to prepare your mind to accept the revelation?
  • What is one step you could take to respond to revelation that incorporates your accountability partners or mentor?


“There are some graces and blessings that God gives only in the “meeting together” with other believers” (Whitney, 92).


Mahaney, C.J., and Rovin Boisvert. “Chapter Six: Tools of the Trade (2).” In How Can I Change?: Victory in the Struggle Against Sin, edited by Greg Somerville, 69–82. The Pursuit of Godliness. Gaithersburg, Maryland: Sovereign Grace Ministries, 1993.
Piper, John, and David Mathis, eds. “Appendix: Conversation with the Contributors.” In Acting the Miracle: God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification, 139–62. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.
Whitney, Donald S. “Chapter Five: Worship.” In Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 85–98. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997.