The musical system and the acoustics of the room are all well set. Great musicians have already taken their place. Worship starts. Sounding great and pleasant. Whole crowd sings in harmony along with the the Worship Leader. Great music fills the air. It appears that the host of angels have arrived. The so-called ‘Worship Leaders’ are on fire! A great flow of the supernatural atmosphere of worship.
Suddenly the electricity goes off !! Boom!!
Will that spiritual atmosphere still continue? Will those worship leaders still be motivated to lead people to sing songs, even without music? Or will they stop the worship abruptly and wait for the electricity? Will the audience be able to continue worshiping God without a distraction?
Here comes the practical test for real spiritual worship – Is our worship electricity-led or Spirit-led? Is our devotion truly out of true love for Jesus rising from the depth of our hearts OR Are those words coming from our lips inspired by that sweet soothing music that’s in the air?
Jesus once quoted the scriptures about worship,
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules Matt 15: 8, 9
In other words, when we sing, I surrender all, do we really mean it from the depths of our hearts? Are there still areas in our life which we don’t want to surrender, and yet we are trying to honor God with our lips, but not our hearts? If yes, it’s high time to change. God hates hypocrisy.
The Master has arrived
In his book What God Thinks When We Fail, Steven C. Roy tells a fictional story about a young violinist who lived in London many years ago. Although he was a superb musician, he was deathly afraid of large crowds, so he avoided giving concerts. But after enduring criticism for his unwillingness to give concerts, he finally agreed to perform in the largest concert hall in London.
The young violinist came onto the stage and sat alone on a stool. He put his violin under his chin and played for an hour and a half. No music in front of him, no orchestra behind him, no breaks—just an hour and a half of absolutely beautiful violin music. After ten minutes or so, many critics put down their pads and listened, like the rest …. After the performance, the crowd rose to its feet and began applauding wildly—and they wouldn’t stop.
But the young violinist didn’t acknowledge the applause. He just peered out into the audience as if he were looking for something—or someone. Finally he found what he was looking for. Relief came over his face, and he began to acknowledge the cheers.
After the concert, the critics met the young violinist backstage …. They said, “You were wonderful. But one question: Why did it take you so long to acknowledge the applause of the audience?”
The young violinist took a deep breath and answered, “You know I was really afraid of playing here. Yet this was something I knew I needed to do. Tonight, just before I came on stage, I received word that my master teacher was to be in the audience. Throughout the concert, I tried to look for him, but I could never find him. So after I finished playing, I started to look more intently. I was so eager to find my teacher that I couldn’t even hear the applause. I just had to know what he thought of my playing. That was all that mattered. Finally, I found him high in the balcony. He was standing and applauding, with a big smile on his face. After seeing him, I was finally able to relax. I said to myself, ‘If the master is pleased with what I have done, then everything else is okay.'”
Many times we forget that the Great Master who is worthy of all attention is present in our midst
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them
Jesus watches us closely. He knows the real intention behind that singing or playing the instrument. We need to fear Him who has arrived in our midst, the One whose eyes are like blazing fire, Who searches the deep hidden motives of the heart.
Therefore our true ultimate motivation for singing, playing musical instruments, clapping hands, raising voices etc should derive from the love towards Jesus. That’s when the worship becomes pleasing to Jesus. That’s when we start to witness the true repentance of sins, filling of the Spirit, tears in the eyes, and a change of life, which is true result of worshiping God.
Jesus loves music, but that which originates from the heart. Jesus loves to listen to piano, violin, jazz, bass, guitar, but that which is motivated by the deep love towards Him. Jesus loves harmony, but that which is made up by hearts which are on fire for God. That’s the kind of music which He enjoys.
Father God hates ‘artificial’ spiritual atmosphere
As worship leaders, our focus should NEVER be to create an artificial spiritual atmosphere, but to worship the Lord genuinely by concentrating on Him alone. True worship atmosphere is created by the Holy Spirit. We need to desire to catch that fire from Heaven. Our trust and dependence should not be on the music, but on the Holy Spirit. That’s when God uses even the music to bring glory to Himself.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4: 23, 24)
Yes the time is already come! Our Father God is searching for true worshipers, who will worship Him from the depth of their spirit and in harmony with the Holy Spirit.
You can never judge, because…
No man can judge from outside, whether it is true worship or not, because it’s all about the heart. It’s between you and your God. It’s all about how we present ourselves before God Almighty. On the outside, we may appear to be real worshipers but the One who searches the hearts knows those who genuinely honor Him with their lips. Therefore, let us fear and revere the Lord and be very careful as we minister in worship service. It’s a very dangerous thing to put on an act in the presence of God.
Let’s become more and more true worshipers, and let’s not take advantage of His mercy and kindness.
Father Lord, I am sorry for acting as if I were worshiping you. Lord, I was concentrating more on displaying my skills instead of pleasing You. Please help me to be more genuine, and really mean those words as I am singing. Let me not be distracted by the music around, rather let the music help me come close to God. Help me not to be carried away that sweet music, but help me to be carried away by your love and sacrifice for me on the cross. Help me to lead others also to the true worship in spirit and truth. Give me abundant grace to be genuine and real. Help me to be aware of Your presence whenever we gather. Thank you Jesus, Amen.