What's Your Reason?

By Stephen M. Newman
Founder, ExperiencingWorship.com and Author of Experiencing Worship
December 14, 2022

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Two Concerns

When I speak to people on the subject of worship, I get a host of feedback from A-Z. Worship is so simple and yet it can be so complex. When humans are involved, conflict and differences are sure to be close behind! Everyone has a different definition and opinion on worship. When I ask people why they refuse to be obedient in worship, the answers are common. What do you mean disobedient? I continue by sharing the various expressions of worship. I point out what the Bible says we are to do. Their responses and answers are usually the products of poor teaching by someone who has taught them in years past that didn’t have a clue what worship was about, or no teaching at all.

You may be asking yourself, “What is he talking about?” During a session of our Experiencing Worship Study, we began to talk about why people do not clap, dance, or raise their hands in church. The common replies are, "I don't want to offend my neighbor" or "I am afraid of what others will think of me.” We think that if we get happy about God, or choose to show Him our love through expressions of Biblical worship He has commanded us to use, that people may be distracted or hindered in their worship.

It is understandable that we as Christians are cautious when dealing with worship and the place it has in our churches and lives. Nobody wants to offend another or cause someone to be distracted. We need to be encouraging and not take away from someone else's worship right? Hogwash! The Bible tells us to raise our hands to the Lord, dance and shout for joy to the Lord, sing to the Lord, bow down before the Lord, and more. If the Spirit of God prompts you to raise your hands in worship and you don't because you are afraid to offend your lost friend who has come with you to church, who is right? What is worship about? Is it about what we choose to offer to God? Is it about our mood for the day and our waiting to be filled before we respond? Obedience is core to understanding worship. Pure and simple. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree with it, but you do have to obey it. Thinking back when I was a child there were many things that I didn't want to do that my parents made me do. Some were embarrassing at times, others seemed to be a waste of time, and yet now I see that there was a purpose for my obedience. Had I chosen to be disobedient, I probably would not be the person I am today. Very possibly I might be in jail as a result of thinking that I knew what was best for myself.

The same holds true in our being obedient to God. We cannot choose what we will and won't do. We have to be totally obedient to all He asks of us. We may not understand, and we don't have to, but the end result will be His will and not ours being done. When we gather as a body to worship, how will we respond to God's leading? We can slide in the area of worship as long as we are obedient in the others, right? The Bible tells us to do these things and yet we refuse because we fear what others will say and think. A friend once asked me, "If I feel like falling on my face before the Lord, can I?" My response was, "If you feel like it, and it is what God is telling you to do, you better do it!" “What about the others in the church?" she asked. I responded with, "What about God? Is He is telling you to do it? Which is more important?”

This brings me to the next possible problem. The Bible tells us that if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us on Judgment Day. That's enough for me! If we are honest with ourselves, some of us are embarrassed to do what we want to in worship. We have no problem with screaming for our kids’ team at a soccer game. We will make fools of ourselves at sporting events, and yet when it comes to God, we don't really want people to know that we really love Him. My question is, how much do we?

What is the right thing to do? All I know is that when God speaks, we better listen. He wants us to be fools for Him. We all know the story of David and his dancing before the Lord. His wife said he was a fool for doing it, but God called him a man after His own heart. When we worship, who is our audience? Who are we trying to impress? Why do we do it? He is worthy of it, He demands it of His children, we were created to do it, it is our opportunity to be obedient, and He is pleased with it.

The next time you feel like falling on your face before God, do it. The next time you feel like raising your hands to the Lord, do it. The next time you feel like dancing before the Lord, do it. If you church rebukes you, I would find another church. What this world needs is Christians who genuinely love the Lord, who come before Him in sincere worship, and who aren't afraid to respond to Him in true worship. What we need is worship warriors - those who are willing to do the right thing in our corporate times together. For many the price will be high. For many there will be mocking, chastisement, and they may even be approached to leave the fellowship. If these things should happen, count it all joy. Pray for those who turn on you and mock your expression and obedience in worship. If you have the chance, share your heart and reasons for worship one on one. Show them the many verses that support your actions. For further reference go to http://www.experiencingworship.com/preview.htm to view our study materials that will help in your defense.

Lastly, remember that Satan hates our worship because He doesn't want God to receive what is due Him. He wants you to worship him, and when we fail to give God glory and honor, Satan is pleased. Whatever the reasons we use to not worship, we will only hinder our relationship with the Father. Are you willing to be obedient to Him?

Stephen M. Newman
Founder, ExperiencingWorship.com and Author of Experiencing Worship
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