What is worship? How do we define our worship of God? Do we allow the views of others to inhibit the way in which we spend intimate time with the Lord? Our worship should express reverence and awe and praise to our God. True worship is personal and it has many different styles of expression.
I love to read about David and how he worshiped before the Lord. He worshipped in ways that many people felt were undignified and irreverent. David removed his royal robes and danced "before the Lord with all of his might" (2 Sa 6:14). I love the fact that He is not concerned about how others will look upon him. His dance is nothing put beautiful and joyous unrestrained praise to his God. Now it must be noted that David's own wife, Michal watched him and despises him "in her heart" (2 Sa 6:16). She was only concerned about how it looked for a king to be acting in such a manner.
When we enter into a time of worship do we look to see who's watching? Do we find ourselves wondering what others will think about us if we respond in a certain way? Nothing speaks to my heart more than the very words of Jesus himself.
"When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
How do we find ourselves responding when someone criticizes how we worship? How should we react when we feel pressured by critics? Let me just say that I will not allow the rocks to cry out in my place. I will not allow others to keep me from worshipping and praising the God I love. I too will become undignified if it means that dancing and singing with all my might will be how I express the passion I have for my King. John 4:23-24 says that "a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."
When we worship, it is not our own honor at stake but the honor of God. Your worship time may offend or embarrass others but what people think of you and how you worship is irrelevant. Our true focus should be on God and when we fear what others think we rob ourselves of the intimacy that comes from true abandonment to God.
It reminds me of the story of the sinful woman and how she cleaned the feet of Jesus with her tears and her hair. For her, this was an act of worship as others looked upon her with judgement. Her act of worship was completely misunderstood by those watching but not Jesus. She was so intent and focused on Him that she didn't notice those around her scoffing at her act of worship. Worship is a time of intimacy between you and your God. Seeking the approval of those around you will only prevent you from totally offering your loving abandonment to God and in turn missing out on the opportunity to experience Him in that moment.
We must realize that the style of worship is not the real issue here but that of the attitude of the heart. True worship is an encounter with God. It's meeting Him and allowing Him to love you while you praise Him for who He is. It's done with a heart that is seeking after Him and wanting to meet and be with Him. He is honored and glorified in those times because He sees into our heart and knows our true intent.
How do you worship? Do you lift your hands in praise to Him? Do you dance? Do you clap your hands? Do you fall on your face before Him? Do you shout out praises to Him? Think about how you worship and what is most comfortable to you. Now, step back, turn on some praise music and in the privacy of your own home, dance before the Lord. If you tend to be quiet and reflective during worship, take a deep breath and just dance before your Lord. If you usually sing and shout praises to Him then take a step back and experience the peace of reflective worship. Hebrews 13:15 says that we should "continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess His name." Offering a sacrifice to God requires that you sacrifice your own ideas of worship and the ideas of others so that you may hold God above all else. Worship from the heart honors God regardless of how it may appear to those around you.
"Father, help us to recognize that worship is our expression of reverence and awe to You. May we worship You in spirit and truth and not be fearful of those around us. Help us to hold nothing back when we come before You in praise. May we experience true worship and joyful, loving abandonment to You."
Written by Nicole