Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 13 - Authentic Worship

I admit it.  I sinned right in the middle of a church service. Sometimes, jealousy would creep into my thoughts, as I would watch my husband worship God in a way that clearly pleased Him. (If I wasn’t jealous, I was proud.)  Many times, when he would sing a solo in church, I would stand or sit there and think to myself,  I wish I could worship God like that. He is SO present to God.  He looks captured by Him. At the same time, it always pulled me into a worshipful place where I would feel humbled with the awesomeness of God.  He was acting out Mark 12:30…”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all you soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” When Michael worshipped God in song, he was doing it with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

I found myself comparing the way I worshipped to the way he worshipped.  Hebrews 12:28 says, “Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please Him.”  A way… this means that there is a way that pleases God and there is more than one way.  I know that I am not alone in having thought that worshipping in song is the main way we can worship, so as to please God.  What I read in Day 13 not only opened my eyes, but lifted a burden I had unknowingly been carrying that told me I may have somehow not been present the day when God was handing out the gift of worship.  Today I realized that I can, and do, worship God in a way that pleases Him, but it is in a way that is authentic to me.

Rick Warren says, “The best style of worship is one that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the background and personality God gave you.”  Gary Thomas, who wrote Sacred Pathways, said, “Many Christians seem stuck in a worship rut – an unsatisfying routine – instead of a vibrant friendship with God, because they force themselves to use devotional methods or worship styles that don’t fit the way God uniquely shaped them…. If God intentionally made everyone different, why should everyone be expected to love God in the same way?...Christians have used many different paths for over 2,000 years to enjoy intimacy with God: being outdoors, studying, singing, reading, dancing, creating art, serving others, having solitude, enjoying fellowship, and in a dozen other activities.”  Different people enjoy intimacy with God in different ways.  Because I understand Gary Chapman’s study in his book The Five Love Languages, I also now understand this in view of loving God.  

Chapman explains that we are all wired to best receive or feel love (and express love) in five different ways: through physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and through gifts.  If we are created in God’s image, then it pleases Him to be worshipped (loved) in these five different ways.  Michael’s “love language” was words of affirmation…. This explains why his words, his songs of affirming his love for God through worship with song, brought such clear pleasure to God and fulfillment to Michael.  It was not only his natural way of receiving love but also his natural way of expressing love.  He was authentically himself while worshipping God in song.  He used to tell me, “Babe, if your love language was word’s of affirmation, I’d be set!” 

My love language is mainly quality time. (I say mainly because it is never just one, there are combinations. My second one is acts of service.) I did not fully grasp how this fits into my way of worship until after I started writing this post!  I may not worship God in song in church in the manner that Michael did, but I spend some serious, concentrated, quality time (as well as quantity) with God every day.  I worship Him with my time… in solitude and simplicity, face to face, looking each other straight into the eyes… and now I realize that this is how I best worship and it pleases God!  It is authentic worship.  I worship God as I enjoy nature.  I worship God with my mind during my quality time of quiet study of His word and quality time of trying to listen to His voice.  I socialize and love others best in one on one situations, and I worship God best, and feel most authentic, while I am spending one on one time with Him.  

This revelation is so freeing to me!  I feel like dashing outside and rolling in the grass like a happy puppy!  I feel like shouting my favorite line from the movie Elf, as Buddy shouts, “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”  I love God, I love God, and I don’t care who knows it!  I love spending quality time with my creator, my redeemer, my strength, my source, my healer, my provider, the “lifter of my head”…and this “way” of worshipping Him pleases Him, because it is the unique way He created me!  Thank you God, for making me “me”.

With eyes straight ahead, I will not look to the left or to the right, comparing myself to others, but I will be present in the moment and rejoice in how God created me and I will take pleasure in being my authentic self as I worship my Creator.

"That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before Him in their worship."John 4:23

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