As this week goes on, I’m beginning to notice a trend that has been developing among Christians my age. There seems to be this overwhelming need to have an emotional experience during worship. Worship is not only being viewed as music, but as an experience.
Worship leaders are critiqued on how “connected” people felt to the songs that were being played and how many people raise their hands or sing or dance. Not only is worship leading being critiqued, but the people worshiping as well. If people are not singing, dancing, raising their hands, or moving about, they are considered “irreverent” and “unappreciative.”
“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. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth,” John 4:23-24 ESV.
Spirit and truth. Not swelling guitar riffs and dancing. Not heavy beats and lip service. Spirit and truth.
Worship is the act of glorifying God. We give God credit where it is due. We praise Him for the things He’s done. We thank Him for the ways he’s blessed us. And if that doesn’t cut it, the “rocks will cry out.” Not because they have voices (but they could), but because they are His creation and their very existence is a testimony to God’s power. If we were all vegetables, unable to speak and dance, our breathing would bring God glory because we are alive. Worship is a mindset.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect,” Romans 12:2 ESV.
Renewing of our minds. When we realize that worship isn’t the music we play, but the very fact that our fingers can produce something beautiful, we are free from compulsory dancing. Free from compulsory hand raising. Free from compulsory singing. I have nothing against free worshipping, hand raising, dancing, singing, and music. I am a musician myself. I write, sing, dance horribly, and yell when I need to/feel compelled to. But I am not going to stand by and let this trend continue unnoticed.
Worship isn’t just an experience. Worship isn’t just music. Worship isn’t just actions. Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is a mindset. When we engage in actions that God has deemed “good,” it is considered worship. If we remember that worship is just the act of giving God glory, then we realize that our very existence should be dedicated to doing just that: worshipping.
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