Do You Have to Be in Church to Worship God?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20

As we have considered Ephesians 3:20, we have seen that God "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" and that he does this by "his power that is at work within us." It would be tempting to take these glorious truths and miss their ultimate purpose. Yes, to be sure, God works in us and through us to fulfill his mission in the world. And, yes, as God works in and through us, we experience the unspeakable joy of God's presence and power.

But God acts not only to accomplish his mission and delight his people, though both are true and quite wonderful. Ephesians 3:21 reminds us of an even loftier purpose: "to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations." This higher purpose is God's glory.

As you may recall, Ephesians 1:11-14 revealed this to be our fundamental purpose in life. We are to "be for the praise of his glory" (1:12, 14). We exist so that God might be glorified. And how will this happen? God will be glorified when we devote ourselves to his glory, when we commit our lives to his ultimate purpose of bringing unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ (1:10).

Thus, we glorify God not only in contexts we call "worship." Glorifying God is not primarily about what we do "in church," but in the world. We glorify God through our praises, to be sure, but also through our faithfulness at work, in our citizenship, in our stewardship of our finances, and in all of our relationships.

As we'll see, the final three chapters of Ephesians offer lots of guidance for how we can live each day in a way that glorifies God. For now, let me encourage you to consider the following questions.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you ever think about what it means to live for God's glory in the "daily grind" of your normal life? Do you feel a passion to glorify God? What helps you to seek God's glory more intentionally and eagerly?

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

"To God Be the Glory" by Fanny Crosby, 1875. Public domain.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.