Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Do you ever feel like you're fighting with God in worship?

It's perhaps ironic. And, perhaps I should clarify that when I talk about 'worship' in this post, I'm going to be specifically talking about the times when you're singing songs to the Lord (because, let it be known that there are many, many times of worship that have nothing to do with singing).

So maybe you're in church, or at camp, or a conference, or some other scenario where they ask you to rise for worship. You stand up reluctantly, partially because you were quite comfortable in your seat and partially because your heart doesn't really feel ready to 'worship'.

The music begins, and most times (depending on where you are) the words either pop up on a screen, or else you are fumbling through a hymnal trying to get to the song before they actually start singing any words.

It doesn't really matter what the song is, because at this point you feel pretty disconnected. Maybe you've been struggling with something that you have yet to really sort through. Maybe you're feeling angry toward the Lord about something. Maybe you just feel apathetic. Maybe you're just tired of singing the same songs over and over again. Maybe you're too distracted by the off-key worship leader, or the out-of-rhythm drummer. Maybe the lights are too bright, or it is too early, or you feel like everyone is staring at you. Maybe everything feels too contrived, too forced, and you're too disengaged to offer anything that seems worthy of true worship.

Sometimes you sing along. Sometimes you even close your eyes, because you know that people who are really worshipping have to close their eyes when they do it. Sometimes you extend a hand because it's not too crazy but it definitely gives the impression that you're connected with God. Sometimes you just stand there and look around, silently judging other people. Sometimes you just feel numb. Sometimes the standing feels too overwhelming in the midst of your fatigue, so you collapse in your chair, put your face in your hands and try not to fall asleep. This way people might just think you're praying.

If you've been going to church for very long, you've probably mastered the art of how to look spiritual without actually feeling very spiritual. Or maybe that's just me. And honestly, some part of me has probably grown quite weary of attempting any facade and so now I'm content to just be exactly how I am during these times of worship.

It's not that I don't want to worship God...because I know that I am eternally thankful for I am a sinner who is saved by grace. But it's just that sometimes I don't want to worship God...because I'm still confused and have a limited understanding of things and I'm still a sinner, struggling to fully grasp what it means to be saved by grace.

It's confusing, right?
Maybe you know what I'm talking about.
The predicament sometimes makes me feel like I'm arguing with the Lord, especially in the times where I'm denying Him praise. Arguing because I'm resistant to being open to the Spirit moving, arguing because I'm frustrated by something, arguing because I'm not in the mood, arguing because I'm too caught up in something else and I don't want to switch gears, arguing because I feel uncomfortable or because I'm tired or bored.

But it usually seems that if I am willing to listen to the words (whether I'm singing them or not... because haven't a lot of us become pros at singing songs without really listening to what we're singing?) that God wins.

I'm reminded of what He has done for me, what He has saved me from, what hope I have in Him...and how very worthy He is of praise and adoration...and worship. Even when I don't feel like it.

We probably feel guilty a lot for not feeling like we want to worship God. And we probably feel like we are the people who honor God with our lips, but whose hearts are far from Him. Sometimes that is me. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't.

But God is kind.
And He redeems.
And He saves.
Even when I am far from Him. Even when I am unfaithful. Even when I'm a hypocrite who focuses more on the gaping distance that I feel between myself and the Lord than I do on His persistence in pursuing me, loving me...and most importantly: the fact that Christ died for me.

I'd love for us to be honest during these times of worship.
And even beyond that? I'd love for us to be open during these times.
Honest, in the fact that we aren't putting on some sort of mask or facade because we are so worried about what other people might think of us. Honest, in that we aren't so busy trying to do what we think we are 'supposed' to do, that we miss out on the rawness of these moments. And open in the fact that we are willing to allow the Lord to transform our hearts of stone and replace them with tender, beating ones that exist only to worship Him with our entire beings.

I guess I think the more willing we are to direct our reasons for disengaging and disconnecting from these times of worship to the Lord, the more able He is to really change our hearts, our perspective, our selfish ambitions.

The next time you're in this type of setting and you find yourself removed, judgmental, and arguing with the Lord? Be honest with Him about it.
And then be open for where He might take you, how He might move you, what He might ask of you. Listen to the words. Let them really register in your heart.

In the end, may we all recognize how at all times, in every season, no matter where we are at and what we are struggling with... that He is a God worthy of honor and praise. And may our hearts not be far from that.

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