Seems I’m some kind of oddity among followers of Jesus in that I find God as well as a lack of Him both outside and inside of His people no matter where, with whom or even to an extent, -how- He is worshiped.
I’m completely serious!
I confess to believing in God as He is portrayed in the Bible, both Testaments, and as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I do indeed believe the Bible to be His Word to humankind.
Jesus taught we must worship the Father “in spirit and in truth”. At very least that calls for integrity in honoring Him (the core def. of worship is to honor, to kiss, to reverence Him in the sense one would in olden times of the king).
But to unpack this, it seems to me that I am the issue, not so much the people, worship leader, team, choir, stained glass, comfortable seats or the lack of (in?) these as to whether I have made what I believe to be real contact with God the Holy Spirit in a particular time and place. Certainly all these have effect on me… but not near as much as my own openness and seeking after Him regardless of the “outside” details. It boils down to my own heart and willingness to hear and interact with Him, no matter what others offer, the outward stimulation, style or other trappings present. HE is always present. Are we?
He is Spirit, seeks to create depths of intimate relationship with His children no matter what/where/when and to at least a large degree, how. He is everywhere all at once and there no place you can go on earth nor outside of it to escape His Spirit.
Yes, sin (what HE calls “sin” clearly in His Word) and lack of focus can and indeed does build elements of separation… but this doesn’t change anything I’ve written so far.
Next, His people are flawed, sin (don’t only “make mistakes” in this life) and are authentic seekers of Him or not, whichever the case may be in any given time and place. It is equally true that many of His people truly do love Him and their neighbors and are genuine worshipers even when you and I don’t recognize them as such.
Neither you, dear reader, nor I -are- God so in the end only He knows what’s going on (or not) in those around us in any worship gathering.
Yes, I know what the Book says about discernment, words of knowledge and wisdom and likewise prophetic gifts. So… anybody out there always manifest any of those gifts flawlessly in all times and situations?? I think not and so does (I suspect) God Himself.
In the end, it’s not worship music, prayer, style of message delivery or even whether it’s Sunday morning or Tuesday afternoon… it’s not whether you’re off by yourself or in a huge group of Christ followers or seekers… it’s all about God, worshiping Him “in spirit and in truth”.
Authentic worship isn’t really about the paint-job, the surface stuff. It’s about the thoughts and intents of our individual (and THEN, corporate) heart towards God. That is… “towards” God, not merely God towards us.
By all this I do not mean to say that none of these other matters that are elements of worship are unimportant… I’m saying the Holy Spirit and likely demons and angels are in every place regardless of these other issues. So what is primary?
WHO do you seek to link with? Is worship all about the details or intimacy with God? How much personal expectation and agenda do you BRING to a worship gathering or even to your “prayer closet” or personal space in the woods or garden or wherever you meet “in secret” with Him?
I find Him as He said we all can: as and when I seek after Him with all my heart. I typically don’t connect with Him when I allow my own vision to overtake HIS desire in the given moment. Please read that again…
I may or may not feel His presence, but I believe honoring God as a worshiper has more to do with faith and action than feelings. I welcome, enjoy and do not discount nor am I even slightly uncomfortable with the endorphin rush… I simply consider it non-essential to loving God and neighbor.
Lastly, if I understand what Jesus tells us are His primary commandments (which of course, boil to love, that is, “agape” meaning God’s own love) we cannot divorce loving Him supremely from loving our neighbor -who may be someone you don’t even like… from the worship of God.
I have written here before that there can be and at times is a wrong and tragic divorce between our involvement in Sunday service song, prayer and listening to God’s Word -and loving our neighbor as ourselves as we go out the door. This disconnect should tell us something about our “worship”, no?
In my view, these are foundational issues regarding worship we just don’t face up to enough.
Things to consider… and thanks for stopping by 🙂