Extravagant worship…huh?

Posted: 17/04/2011 in God
Tags: , , ,

Consider this – the desire to praise comes naturally to humans. Really? Many of us would disagree, especially here in Australia. We have a bit of tall poppy intolerance in our culture – we build someone up only so we can cut them down, however I believe it is within all of us to acknowledge someone whether because of their greatness or because they have done something great. Have you ever spoken accolades about an actors skill at drawing you into a story, been in awe of a singers breathtaking voice or yelled in excitement at an athlete’s ability? Have you danced unabashed to music you love, sang boisterously to your favourite song or spoken highly of an artist or composers talent? Have you acclaimed an author, heaped compliments on a bride or dare I say it, paid tribute to a politician? Why then do we struggle with the concept of uninhibited praise and  worship of God, even those of us who call ourselves Christ followers?

Perhaps it starts in how we view God. I don’t think we have a very good understanding of who He really is. Honestly, until recently God to me was all wrapped up in a nice little neat Christian package. Over the last year that box has been torn apart as I get to know Him as if for the first time. There is not one word in the entire universe from any language, spoken by any person that can sufficiently describe my God and all the words I’ve used before (holy, sovereign, merciful and so on) just don’t seem enough. I’m not suggesting He considers those words worthless, He knows our heart, I just think if we could grasp just a little bit of who He really is it may just change our worship and praise, after all it’s what we were created to do! More so, if we had the slightest comprehension of how much He loves us, how very much He loves us, it would change our worship and praise in a dynamic way. We would become extravagant worshippers and I don’t think it’s reserved for those who love music or the Pentecostals 🙂 Nor do I believe it is all outward. Worship is an act first in the heart, of full surrender to God. Out of that flows praise – words and actions that should bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Jesus explains it this way. “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” (John 4:23-24, MSG).

So then aside from bringing glory to God in our daily lives, how do we praise, how do we do that outward thing that sometimes we find so hard? The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to throw away structure, forget my pre-conceived ideas and just start praising. Get religion out of the relationship, love God with your whole being and see what happens. It’s between you and God and we will all do it differently. As I grow in my understanding of God and how much He loves me my praise grows. I just can’t hold it back and initially it frightened me a little. I wondered if God thought I was a totally nuts! Dancing, singing, laughing, weeping, it’s never the same anymore. It makes some people uncomfortable to even conceive of allowing praise to manifest in such a way and yet they wouldn’t blink twice if they saw it at the footy. I’m not saying it should be that way all the time and of course we need to be very aware of whether we are truly praising or putting on a show. For me those truly extravagant times are privately at home when I can fully focus on God without distraction. 

Is it over the top, I don’t think so. As I read more about worship and praise in books and in scripture I realise that is how He has created us. A book I’m reading at the moment describes beautifully the different types of Hebrew praise as mentioned in the bible. 1. Sacrifice 2. Raising of hands 3. To bless and thank 4. To be clamorously foolish/dance 5. To celebrate with instruments 6. A song 7. Adoration of God’s character. Worship and praise is not an experience, not about feelings or emotion, it’s not even about us. It’s unabandoned, uninhibited recognition of our God, passionately expressed in our thoughts and actions. It’s deep within us because that’s what we were created for. No wonder the Psalmist wrote “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2a) and ” Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name” (Psalm 103:1). 

If anyone on earth has come close in beginning to describe God it’s this man! Have a listen                                            That\’s my King – S M Lockridge

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