Sitting at the stop light, I was waiting for the light to turn green. My knee was bouncing as it does when I’m a bit anxious or restless, and this time, it was because I was running a bit late for my appointment. The person next to me also seemed to be gripping their wheel in anticipation. In short time, the cross traffic was stopped, and there was nobody in either of the left turn lanes. I knew it was almost go-time.
The light switched from red to green. I released the clutch as I pressed down on the accelerator. The RPM’s went up and... I didn’t move an inch. The vehicle next to me drove away in unrealized victory, and the car behind me gave a tap on the horn. The problem? I wasn’t engaged. The stick-shift was in neutral. Sheepishly, I let the RPM’s come down and I drove away.
Sadly, I have experienced worship services much like this. But it didn’t have to do with the service itself. It had to do with me. Everyone around me is praising God in song, and I’m stuck in neutral. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a personal problem. I allow the concerns of my obligations, or my criticisms of style, or the materials in my hands, or my wandering thoughts to keep me in neutral.
God wants to draw us into the privilege of praise. He wants us to experience the blessing of being engaged in worshipping Him in song.
Interestingly, there is a passage which indicates that the presence of God is manifest in the intentional act of our worship.
“But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3 (NKJV)
Some scholars also translate it this way “You are holy, inhabiting the praises of Israel.”
God is present in a special way when we praise Him!
If you could experience God in a powerful way, would you want that experience? If you could do something to engage God in worship, would you want to?
I have noticed that when I put all of my concerns and anything vying for my attention away, and intentionally will myself to engage in worship (regardless of “style”) I experience a blessing. I don’t think this blessing has to do with my vocal chords, or hitting the right notes, or with the instruments being played, or whether I’m standing or sitting. I believe it has to do with being engaged in giving my creator praise. Have you ever experienced that blessing?
Jesus says to the woman of Samaria, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” - John 4:23
Oh man. God is seekinga people who are worshipping Him in spirit and truth. And it seems, that when we seek God as He seeks us, we experience Him in a powerful way.
Worshipping in Spirit has to do with engagement. Engaging God with all of our beings. It has to do with allowing His Holy Spirit to move us into worshipping Him.
Worshipping in Truth has to do with His truth, His word, being the guide in our lives. It has to do with worshipping Him as He is revealed to be in His word.
Spirit and truth. Paul brings this out in two different areas as well.
Worship in Spirit:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart...” - Ephesians 5:18-19
Worship in Truth:
“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.” - Colossians 3:16
Paul, Jesus, and the rest of scripture seem to encourage us in the privilege of praise.
What would our experience be like if we all engaged in worship, and took intentional steps to keep ourselves out of “neutral?”
Have you experienced a blessing when engaged in worship through song? Let me know by commenting below!
- Pastor Nate