I am not here at the moment to say that how people worship is wrong, but to give my opinion on why some things might need to change about that. Tonight, I was up watching a movie called “Resolved” (I know, nerdy me) about a group of students that wanted to change the face of debate. It was very interesting as I listened and I heard something about the state of worship and the state of the church.
The simple truth for me is that worship needs to move away from formula. Worship needs to move away from simple reading of passages and into the realm of experience. The truth about that situation is that experience does not minimize the reading, but it adds value to the reading. The experience is what makes it real. We cannot understand the heart of a passage until we have experienced something that makes it real.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I am not trying to minimize what one does and say that my way is better, but I am hoping that you will hear me out on what I am saying. For many of us, we are brought up in a system that defines in clear concise terms what it takes to achieve salvation. There is a formula to worship and there is a formula to draw closer to God. Many of these formulas have good parts to them, but it is the fact that there is a system to follow that I do not 100% agree with. There is a removal of the heart and a removal of being emotionally connected to God.
For most of the “systems” that exist in Christianity, they usually have some common parts. They usually are a combination of quiet time, Bible reading, prayer, etc. These components are great, but doing them with no motivation from the Spirit is harmful. An example is time spent in the Word (I am not saying that time in the Word is bad, please do not read that into this). If I simply spend fifteen minutes in the Word every night, I will learn or be trained on the concepts that are presented, but what do I really learn that is applicable to my life or what I am experiencing? Whereas if I am lead by the Spirit to spend time in the Word to truly seek an answer or a reason behind what I am experiencing.
The truth about what I feel is that things need to come out of being concepts and be moved into reality. I do not want the formulas that exist, but I want the experience that leads me to the Lord. This is true on all sides. this same concept holds true when it comes to witnessing or being examples to others. Far too often, I have witnessed or been struggling with something and tried to confide in someone. I take my problem to them and the general answer I hear is “I will pray for you”. That is the formulaic answer. Jesus did not follow that, but that allows you to remove yourself from the situation. It allows you to not have to truly experience what someone is going through.
The Lord would ask us, or rather require us to enter into that struggle with them on a personal level. He has called us to pick us our crosses, and in so doing help others with theirs. Prayer is good, but that phrase is a crutch that allows us to feel good about ourselves and feel like we are doing what God would have us do. It allows us to feel good without feeling God. In all my years (be they limited at that), I have felt the presence of the Lord far more often when I have been laboring and helping others and truly being the hands, than when I fold mine in prayer about them. Again, please do not think that I am trying to minimize the importance of prayer, but I am trying to emphasize the importance of relationship.
What would happen in our marriages, our families and our friendships if every day we lived by a formula? What if we never took the time to see how our wives, husbands, children, friends, were feeling and everyday we simply approached them in a formulaic manner? What would our days look like? They would all be the same and would we really be able to say that we are in relationship with out family? Wouldn’t the phrase, “I love my family?” simply be a phrase that we say to make ourselves feel better? What would be the true evidence to demonstrate that love to the rest of the world?
Why then do we apply that logic and methodology to our faith and our method of worship? If you need the formula to draw closer to the Lord than keep on keeping on, but if you reach a point where the process is the relationship, then I think that you are a little off track.