September 12, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines II: Worship

Certain Styles of Worship Shape Me and My Understanding of God

I learned within the last year that it is okay NOT to worship God by singing and dancing. I learned that I need not be ashamed for approaching God at a cerebral or intellectual level. I am not talking about intellectual assent or something of that nature but actually learning about the completeness and beauty of God’s attributes. When I learn something new about God or His Word or His purposes I become lit up like a road flare. I become childlike in my exuberance. Pure joy courses through me. I thought at first that this was wrong since not many to this point in my life had elaborated on these types of feeling. I felt spiritually retarded (as in pushed or held back). I now know different. My form of worship is still the lesser chosen of the myriad of ways but it was releasing to my soul to know that God would accept my unbridled zeal to understand Him as a true form of worship.

How Does This Particular Approach to God Shape Me?

The form of worship I spoke of above has dramatically reshaped who I am and how I think. When a person (like me) spends so much time in God’s world they often begin to dig extremely deep into some of the deeply embedded truths within truths. Things that were hard to see at first manifest easily after repeated readings and studying of the text. When spending so much time in the word you begin to think like the word (which I believe is the point of the Shema). The odd paradoxes become plain and the ideas like being humbled to become exalted by God become…the norm. Even though the world still sees me as a religious zealot. Who cares. God is glorified and THAT is all the matters.

Who is God to Me? What Name Best Describes My Relationship with God?

God is the Great “I AM” or “ἐγώ εἰμι”. He is a vibrant being, alive even more so than I would consider myself being alive as my life is upheld by His power. God was/is a man that condescend to be nailed to a cross. He made Himself of no accord, a servant to man to redeem Him from his own sin. To become sin for us. He is from the vanishing point to the vanishing point. He transcends my ability to completely understand Him but He loved me enough to reveal Himself to not only me but to all who would accept Him. Revealed not only as an all powerful omnipotent, omniscient (and all the other omni’s) but He also revealed Himself as a helpless child that would one day become atonement for my sin as the Lamb of God. Praise His holy name!

What Does This Name Mean To Me?

“I AM” “ἐγώ εἰμι”. In Greek not just “I am” but I AM I AM! or I AM HE. I EXIST! The εἰμι doesn’t need to be there but because it is it is a double emphasis. I AM that I AM. Living man. Living GOD! He “IS” and always was an “IS”. ALIVE forever. From everlasting to everlasting! Jesus claims for Himself the timeless present of eternity as His mode of true existence. YEAH!

No man encounters God as I understand Him and walks away unscathed. A person walks away changed….or they do not walk away at all! Just as Jacob had an encounter with the Angel of the Lord…he limped for the rest of his life. Paul…blinded and probably had sight problems until he was killed. No man remains unchanged...

Worshipping Alone and Worshipping In Fellowship

I do not mind worshipping with others but, well sometimes, I’m a little selfish. I feel that group worship inhibits me. (1) because I am self-conscious and (2) because my preferred form of worship looks more like studying or being a bookworm or egghead to people. Many do not understand and if I need to explain…it kills it for me. I tend to associate to evangelicals that lean more towards more lively worship or in some cases Charismata. I myself do not become overly emotional until something is sparked in my mind. It is mental for me…not totally emotional. My mind needs to be “sparked” before my emotion enters into the picture. I have found this is often just the opposite of a majority of the Body of Christ.

Knowledge About God Moves Me To Worship

The newness of something learned about His transcendent Being moves me…well…transcendently. Finding something new in His Word that I have not seen before. It is like a treasure hunt. I know something of immense value (priceless actually) is in there… I need only uncover it. When I do…I am thrilled to pieces. Actually, I believe elated conveys the feeling better. I value the knowledge of God most and the more I understand about God/Jesus the more I appreciate and love Him.

When we worship God within the framework that He provided us with in terms of our personalities we bring Him glory. When we force ourselves into a mold that does not fit us we end up uncomfortable and outside "the way that we should go". This does nothing but bring misery to ourselves and disappoint God with our foolishness and inability to think and discern correctly. Not everyone in the church is cut from the same cloth. If we were, the church would be a truly boring place. That was not God's intent...that much I am sure of. An infinitely diverse God would certainly be a creative One too when it came to creating individual personalities. Forcing people into preset molds because we are not creative enough is nothing more that forced ritual and legalism.

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