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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is Worship? - Beyond the Music

A very dear friend of mine shared this funny worship video with me. It’s funny, but at the same time, sad. Isn’t the twist of these worship lyrics true of many in the Church, or if we’re honest, ALL of us at some time or another?

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- John 4:24

I’ll admit I’ve had times when I’ve been in a worship service and really didn’t feel like being there and just sort of “going through the motions.” I’m sure we all have. Are we getting all dressed up in our “Sunday best” to be seen “going to church” so we can look all spiritual? Are we busy looking at what so-and-so is wearing? Do we really “surrender all” to Jesus, or do we just “surrender some?” Are there things in our lives that we want to keep control of in the flesh? Do we have things deep inside us that we don’t dare let out because we’re afraid of what others will think? “If they knew this about me, would they think I’m not Christian enough?” Or do we deny the truth even to ourselves because we’ve been taught to believe that Christians aren’t supposed to have this or that issue they struggle with? Of all places, the Church (the body of believers, not the building) should be where we can let our guard down, open up to our brethren, be real, confess to each other our problems without being judged so we can lift each other up and encourage one another. We shouldn’t be made to feel like we have to fake it and act like we have it all together. I’ll be the first to admit… I don’t. It is Christ alone that holds me together. (link to Louie Giglio- Laminin post) Nothing is hidden from Him. God searches the heart and knows us better than we know ourselves.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
- Romans 12:1-2

This begs the question then, “what is worship?” It is certainly not the music. Sure, the music can produce an emotional reaction, but we can be fooled by our own emotions. Worship is summed up very well in Romans 12:1-2. I’m not trying to “rewrite Scripture,” but I believe you can think of worship by considering this passage something like this: when you realize God’s mercy on you in giving Himself to save you, it should make you want to live your life for Him in all ways, giving yourself fully to Him, setting yourself apart for His purposes for you, obeying what He has commanded you to do, and seeking to please Him alone. Don’t be how the world says you should be, but seek to be what God says you can be in Him, by letting His Word transform your thinking into what He desires for you, and put that thinking into actions where people see Christ in you, and not yourself. Worship music is great and can help us get/keep our mind set on Christ, but true worship goes far beyond the music. We have to keep the focus on Christ as we seek Him with all our hearts, and seek to live out the Gospel according to His will for us, that others are drawn to Him and not ourselves. Ask yourself, “Am I exalting Christ? Or me…”
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