Why do I worship the way I do? Melissa Wilson 8/3/08
While reflecting on why I worship the way I worship, the song "Alabaster Box" is what comes to my heart. A desperate woman pushes her way through the crowd. People are annoyed, thinking she is less than they, talked about her, shunned her. (Now remember, these people were following Jesus...that's a whole other sermon) The chorus to the song says, "I've come to pour my praise on Him like oil, from Mary's Alabaster box. Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears and dry them with my hair. Cuz you weren't there the night He found me. You did not feel what I felt when He wrapped His love all around me, and you don't know the cost of my Alabaster Box."
Funny how those even following Jesus chastized the woman. Again, the church beating it's own. Our Savior had to correct them for their judgemental hearts and point to what they thought was the lowest type of person on earth as an example of worship. WOW!! Similar situations happen throughout the entire Bible, but specifically with Jesus, His followers, and the religious leaders. They wanted to control who came to worship Jesus, how they came to worship Jesus, and when they came to worship Jesus. Jesus didn't care about all that. He just wanted them to come.
With every fiber in my being I desire to worship Jesus. With every emotion, every thought, every movement, I want to show Him my love. I want God's heart to be blessed as I praise Him. Body, soul, and spirit. I bring it all to Him, dump it out there openly and with abandonment before Him. People don't know how to respond to that abandonment with God. I can't respond to God with out wholehearted abandonment for Him.
Because I am so open and demonstrative and free in my worship people say it MUST be performing for my own gratification and applause. Being skilled and trained only adds to the judgement that I must be performing for my own attention. (Jesus 'performed' many miracles. Every time He gave glory to Jehovah God and it drew people closer to HIM.) In all honesty, what would be performing to me would be to stand still, feet together, the right arm raised, maybe both, with no movement or true emotion and my eyes focused on people. That's performing for human pleasure.
I've been a professional performer for years. Singing, dancing, live shows, etc. I love it. I love connecting with an audience member. Catching their eye, giving them a smile and seeing them respond. I believe that touches their heart. There are not many things you will hear me say I I think I am good at, but I believe I am an excellent performer. Not because I do it for me, but because I do it for my audience. To see them transpire into a place of joy, to touch emotions, thoughts, or best of all, hearts. It brings me great pleasure to see others blessed through me.
When leading worship, during songs that are relational between God's people or talking about God, I look at them and pray they are encouraged and can be built up. I pray God uses me to share a piece of His heart. However, when it crosses over into more intimacy and pure focus on my relationship with Christ, a shift happens. I look to God, no more is my focus on telling them God loves them, but on telling and showing Him I love Him. An intimacy enters in and I look at God, in His eyes, and I see His face. And as miraculous as that is, what is even more incredible, is that HE IS LOOKING AT ME, MY HEART, MY THOUGHTS, MY LOVE. I fall in love with Him all over again!
While leading in times of intimate worship, I know that I must be aware of logistics such as band direction, choir following, song pattern, etc. There still needs to be an awareness of that. But, as far as continuing to look at the congregation, that shifts when we enter the throne room chamber. At that point it is all about focusing on Him and pouring love on each other. That's what so awesome about my God. He is omniscient, and can be with every individual, meet their hearts desire, release healing, joy, and every other gift He has to bring to all of us, individually, yet at the same time. Mind boggling. I can't even focus on my two kids talking to me at once.
Back to leading in 'throneroom' times. If my eyes and heart are focused on Him, HE will tell me where to go in worship. He may share through others prophetic words, songs, hymns, etc. there is no limit as to what He will do. I must be seeking His face to know where He wants me to go. I've been in times of singing spontaneously and another person and I are singing the exact same thing, notes, words, it's amazing. The same has happened while dancing spontaneously. If I am looking to people for feedback, and worry, 'oh, that person isn't raising his hand, or she just sat down' I am not looking to Him, I am then allowing those people to lead the direction rather than God. If I look to people to lead in worship, then we will wander in the desert for 40 years. I'd prefer to be led by the Holy Spirit pillar of fire by night and cloud by day than by people's unfocused, selfishly motivated opinion of what to do, how fast, clap, no clap, etc. If God truly stirs someone's heart to dance, then they should feel released to dance.
GOD STIRS OUR HEART TO WORSHIP. People do not-unless pleasing the people is our goal, and therefore, people become our gods and idols. My goal is to please God.
There may be physical evidence of God moving through people in worship. Raising hands, clapping, dancing, shouting, etc. but, the evidence of worship is not what we need. TRUE worship in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH is what we need. As a side note on this, God is Truth. If you don't know God, then you cannot know Truth. You may know if a fact is truthful or not, but outside of God, you can't know Truth.
Outward appearance should not be the focus. (I am not saying it is unimportant, or can't be distracting or ungodly-people who are leading should know that the Lord commands us to act and dress appropriately and modestly.) The goal is NOT to get people to raise their hands, shout, dance, kneel, clap, etc. The goal is to exalt and glorify God. To praise Him in His sanctuary. To bless the Lord with all that's in us! As He is lifted up,others will be drawn to Him. We need to facilitate an environment in worship that allows freedom for the evidence of worship to be released.
What is transpiring on the inside will affect the outward expression. This outward expression will vary from person to person. Some may dance, shout, kneel, use flags, etc. Others may not feel free to do these things, but their expression of worship is to brush the cobwebs off the walls or scrub toilets. In time, God will teach us all how to be able to sit with Him awhile and just love on Him. Is it wrong to be up serving, moving around, busy,etc.? No-just not the right time, necessarily. Let's face it, when we are leading, if we are focusing on everyone else, the work to be done, how am I going to get this person to release his pain, etc. our eyes are not turned to God. Jesus, Himself, did not chastise Martha for serving, He just told her that Mary had chosen the better way at that moment. There are other times, such as the Great Commission, that He tells us to get up and do something with our faith.
As we are leading, we are simply to worship and exalt Christ. We can encourage lifting of hands, and other expressions, mostly by doing it ourselves-no orders needed. If God is being lifted up, those who desire to come will follow. Those who truly do not will stay out of the throne room. But if we wait for those who don't want to enter, then we ourselves do not enter the very Presence and place of intimacy, healing, deliverance, etc. that God desires for us.
I am so desperate for Him, passionately in love with Him, and hungering to see His Holy Spirit poured out upon myself and upon His people. I don't want to wait in the outer courts any more. I need an encounter with Christ. An abandoned, unashamed, undignified, jubilant, tear filled, life changing, heart rending, relationship with Jesus. That comes in the secret place. That's where consecration and conception comes.
Why am I so exuberant in my expression of my love for Him? Because He is so exuberant in His expression of absolute love for me. To demonstrate the depths of His love for me, He left His Kingdom, died a painful death on a cross, and through the power of the Holy Spirit rose again from the grave. To demonstrate my love for Him, I left my kingdom, crucify my selfish ways and desires, and by the power of the Holy Spirit rise anew each day in His unending love and promises. I am desperate for Him, and He is desperate for me. That's a love story like none other ever written.