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Pointers along the way #532

What does worship do to us?
- Jacob Ninan

'Worship' has become a major part of the 'service' in many charismatic/pentecostal/independent churches, and this is especially the main attraction for many young people who migrate to these churches from formal churches which they consider 'dead'. Here they can feel the energy ('the power') in listening to loud, pulsating music coming through sophisticated musical instruments and music systems and moving with it with clapping, raising hands, swaying, etc. It is very near in experience to the world they have left behind except that this is 'clean', there is mention of Jesus, and their parents are ok with it. At the end of this time of 'praise and worship' they have had their high, and they long to come back to it again next week. They are all the more interested in a church where there is a vibrant youth programme where they can jam with their friends, strike up 'relationships' with guys and gals without too much supervision from the elders and have a blast with drinks and snacks.

But what is worship supposed to be for us, from God's point of view? It is our adoration of God when we 'see' Him in His glory and power, and we take our place before Him in humility. The words used for 'worship' in both Hebrew and Greek imply prostrating oneself before God. It is not the 'how' of this that is important--whether it is when we sing songs or we are sitting quietly alone before Him, or whether we kneel down, raise hands, etc. What needs to happen is a humbling of ourselves before God in our heart as we recognise and acknowledge Him, as created ones before the Creator, as feeble ones before the Almighty, as essentially unclean ones before the Holy One, as ignorant ones before His wisdom, as selfish and self-centred ones before His love, etc.

As Isaiah recognised his own uncleanness when he saw a vision of God (Is.6:5) and the apostle John fell down as if dead when he saw an appearance of Jesus (Re.1:17), when we worship God we will lose our own sense of self-righteousness and self-importance, and stand in awe of God. When this happens we will be so full of reverence and respect for God that we will offer ourselves to Him without any reservation to do whatever He wants. God says this is to be our reasonable response when we worship Him (Ro.12:1).

We would be fooling ourselves if we come away from the worship service feeling all excited and thrilled with the experience but there is no change in our understanding of God and attitude towards Him. When we meet with God in truth, there must be always a movement away from sin towards Him in our life.

There is too much importance given to stirring up of the emotions, and there is very little emphasis, even in the message that follows, on following Jesus as His disciples and receiving the truth which alone can set us free (Jn.14:26). What is the point impressing everyone with organisational skills, oratory and showmanship but people continue to remain essentially the same as before?


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