Some time ago I wrote an article called Praising God With the Wrong Spirit (Gospel Network Directory Special Anniversary Issue 2002). One of the goals in writing that article was to encourage believers to offer up to God an ". . . all that is within me... " praise. Attempting to praise God with the wrong spirit will rob you of your blessing, your deliverance, and ultimately, the intimacy with God that He so longs to have with His children.
In today's society many of us attend service each Sunday in beautiful, extremely large church buildings with state of the art technology and church staffs numbering in the hundreds. My suggestion is not that there is anything wrong with having large buildings in which to worship. When we gather to worship God in spirit and in truth as the scripture teaches (John 4:24), He will meet us whether the membership is 10 or 10,000; whether located on a multi-acre stretch of land, or in a small white frame building on the back side of nowhere. But it is sometimes in the posh comfort of our buildings that we may engage in "convenient" worship--half-hearted worship if you will, because we sit on a large piece of real estate with a budget in the millions. No worries. We have charged the praise team with doing our worshiping for us.
Even in our personal life situations, perhaps there are no problems to speak of. All the bills are paid and there is plenty of food in the kitchen. We boast of perfect children, happy marriages, all three cars are running fine. There’s plenty of money in the bank, and we haven't positioned ourselves to wait on God for anything. All of our human relationships are going well, and somehow we think we've been able to dodge enemy attack with an occasional "ee tah tah" or by quoting the only scripture some of us know: "The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want". Convenient worship means not acknowledging God in all of His holiness; it means not humbling ourselves before His presence in complete submission to His great majesty (Nehemiah 8:6). We have bowed neither our hearts nor our bodies before Him in true love and adoration. Because, it appears, all is well.
But enter the serious worshiper; that troubled, contrite, broken believer who finds it decidedly inconvenient to worship, but does so anyway. That person's worship is unstoppable because in spite of the crisis he/she is currently facing, the deep, intense, love relationship with the Lord that governs their life dictates that they bow low in worship even through inward pain (Psalm 73:26). With one, hand they wipe free-flowing tears while the other hand is lifted toward heaven in an expression of worship to the Fountain that never runs dry. You see, life's bitter storms have a way of draining our mental and emotional resources; so much so that we can no longer rely on our strong will and human wisdom (I Cor. 3:19a). We have reached the point of utter desperation. It is here that we fully surrender ourselves to God. Total surrender ushers us into a place of complete dependence on Him. It is not our own strength anymore. At this point we have emptied ourselves of ourselves, reached the end of our personal coping mechanisms, and been readied to be filled with divine resources.
Problems have a way of forcing us to hone our introspective interrogation skills. In other words, when life throws us a curve ball, and if the ball comes fast and furious enough, we have no choice, but to look deep within ourselves for answers. And after searching inside ourselves we discover that the answers are not found in our self-confrontation, but can only be found in God. It is here we learn about worship in spirit and in truth. Real worship the way God intended will expose our inner selves; it is that part of us that only we, and God, in His omniscience know about. It is by reason of this type of exposure that some people shy away from worship; public or private. They don't shy away from church, mind you, but from worship. But these are ideal opportunities to be introduced or reintroduced to an unstoppable, undeniable worship encounter. It is an opportunity to be filled with power that we may not know had we not experienced opposition. Opposition has a way of putting fruit to our faith and injecting a warrior's passion into our worship. The person whose worship is unstoppable will embrace the move of God during times of worship.
The unstoppable worshiper tends to ignore what some of us consider "proper" behavior in the worship experience. This is the person who will just let the tears fall while both hands are lifted. For example, the sister who is so committed to worship the God she loves that the time she took earlier applying her makeup is of no consequence. The brother who understands that his love for God is the true source of his strength, has now broken a sweat, as he has so given himself to the worship. Both are so caught up in the awesome majesty of God that they are consumed by His manifest presence, which is the true goal of all sincere worship.
Since true worship is a matter of the heart, it behooves all believers to closely examine our personal worship on both private and public levels. We must ask ourselves "Is my worship convenient or unstoppable?"
Donna Renay Patrick is the founder of WORDshop Ministries based in Lewisville, Texas. The focus of this Word-based teaching ministry is to help God's people understand the true meanings of praise and worship, and how this knowledge impacts our spiritual walk. Donna currently serves as the Minister of Music at the Emmanuel Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. Visit her website at http://www.wordshopministries.com.
© 2003 BlackandChristian.com. This article used by permission.