Does the worship we give God honor Him in the
light of His Holiness? The word worship is
defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as
"the feeling or expression of reverence and
adoration for a deity. 2 religious rites and
ceremonies. 3 great admiration or devotion."
The problem with this definition is that it does
not tell us what we really need to know, namely,
"Am I worshipping the Lord of Glory in a way
that pleases Him?"
I've been thinking a lot about worship lately as
I participate in worship services. The term
"worship service" has become such a generic
term that it really does not tell me anything
specific, just as the dictionary definition did not.
Of course, just like everyone else, dictionary
writers don't want to be politically incorrect.
After all, they choose not to have subcategories
in their definition that say: true worship and false
worship along with those definitions. Or, can you
imagine if they defined true and false religion?
They would need combat pay for the ensuing riot
control. But really, we need to look to God and
not man to find out what true worship really is.
Although I have been hesitant to mention it, I
have been having quite the startling experiences
during the time when we are singing to the Lord.
Over the last two months, during times of
corporate worship, I keep hearing the Lord say,
at certain moments, in a loud and definitive
Voice in my heart, "Please stop singing."
The first time it happened it startled me but I
could tell that Lord meant it so I stopped
singing. Standing there silently, the next song
came around and, unsure about what to do, I start
singing cautiously but with spiritual ears wide
open. I hear nothing. A few songs later I again
hear, "Stop singing. I don't want to hear any
waltzes and I don't want to hear any slow songs
that go nowhere."
"What are you saying, Lord,?" I ask. Here is
what I heard for an answer: "People
sing to Me but they go into something of
a trance, and their mind often becomes
filled with sentimental but untrue ideas about Me.
Often the words convey man's thinking about Me:
falsehoods, trivialities and conveniences.
Furthermore, people sing words but they
often do not obey Me or put into
practice what they sing. There is
no passion. Just romantic fluff.
Sweet nothings. No passion. No
radical obedience. These songs lull
people to sleep and, in human
terms, put Me to sleep. Many people
are singing to feel good and not to offer
themselves to Me. They mistake the
warm feelings they feel for My approval.
I don't want a song that you can control
and that originates in man.
I don't want a dance where you lead.
I want to lead you. I want to lead you
passionately. I want you to follow My
lead passionately and with complete
surrender. I want the flame of totally
surrendered devotion in your hearts
when you sing. I want your love to be
freely given in absolute abandon. My
people are caught up in quagmire of cheap,
sentimental choruses. This are not
what I want to hear. Judge what you
will sing to me. See if it passes the
Now I probably would not have had the
courage to write this except for the fact
that someone else, as godly and sane as
they come, without knowledge of what
had happened to me, sought me
out and told me that she had been
singing along in a service and the Lord
said to her, "I can't hear anything."
Her reaction was the same as mine but
she knew what the Lord was saying,
"Words are coming out of your mouths,
but they are not reaching My ears" (and I
would venture to say, His heart.)
The Lord does not speak to us to have
us not listen. He speaks to teach and to
draw us to the Truth. What is true
worship? Well, a small part of it is
judging how and what we sing to the Lord.
"Out of the mouth the heart speaks" or in
this case "sings." We need to sing
words of truth, but we need to surrender
completely to have these words permeate
our spirit, soul and body.
We oft forget that singing is not for us,
but for Him. It is not to make us feel
good, but is an outward way, a banner to
wave so to speak, to present to the Lord
the deepest commitment of our heart to
God knows if your heart matches your song.
Just like in school, don't raise your hand
(or your voice) til you have the right answer
or you will be corrected. When you
raise your hands and voice to God, have a
right life behind it, or fall on your knees
(First in a series of posts on True & False Worship)