I’m not trying to convict anyone with what I’m about to write, because I can totally relate. I used to be the person standing at church hands glued at my side. But a while back, I read a book on surrender and it really convicted me in this area. I realized I was not surrendering myself to the Lord in my worship.
The Bible encourages us to worship the Lord whole heartedly– to lift up our voices to Him. It is through our worship that we praise Him for who He is and all that He’s done. It should be a complete act of humility and surrender before our Great King. But how often do we stand prideful and embarrassed to praise our King with voices raised and arms wide open?
I know I used to be that person. I stood politely in my row, singing just loud enough to be heard and arms awkwardly by my side, because I knew I for sure was not going to be one of those people who raised her hands in worship.
Well, that is until the Spirit nudged me. We all know the feeling when the Spirit quietly pulls your thoughts inward to re-evaluate your heart.
It was during a regular Sunday service that I felt the Spirit nudging me to just release this fear of embarrassment and awkwardness that I felt around other people while worshiping. I felt safe in my worship, but the Lord doesn’t call us to be safe. He calls us to be brave and to step outside of our comfort zones. He calls us to live lives unhindered by our fear and pride. Now, I do understand that everyone worships differently and I’m not here to say that there’s a right way to worship, but for me personally when I got to the heart of the matter, I realized that withholding this gesture from the Lord was out of fear and pride. I feared what others would think of me.
The Bible defines pride as hubris- preferring self-will to God’s will. It’s when we chose to do what we want over what God desires for us. Biblical pride is overcome when we say, “Thy will be done, Lord.”
When I took the time to evaluate my heart, I realized my worship was not meant for anyone else but for the Lord. And He deserves all of me. He deserves my full worship, unhindered from fear and pride.
I thought to myself, if the Lord were to appear in front of me at this very moment, what would my initial response be. Would I not lift my hands to Him in total awe? Would I not humble myself and bow down before Him? Would I not be totally consumed by His awesome presence that all fear would simply vanish and seem so insignificant?
I read a book with my son the other day on the story of Elijah and King Ahab. The people were worshipping Baal instead of God and because of this disobedience it had not rained for three years. The prophet Elijah came to King Ahab and challenged him to a contest. King Ahab and the people would build an alter to Baal and call on Him to set fire to the altar and Elijah would build an altar to God, douse it in water and call upon God to set fire to it. The King and his people called to Baal all day long. The picture showed them bowed down and hands raised to the sky. They shouted and pleaded to Baal. They sang and danced to him but no fire came down. Then Elijah prayed once to the Lord God to set fire down and He did.
How often do we sing and dance to things of this world, but hold back our singing and dancing to the Lord? How often do we raise our hands, applaud, cheer for our favourite sports team, but stand motionless as we praise our Lord?
What do we fear? Why do we hold back? Why do we not humble ourselves to the Lord?
I want to encourage you today to submit your fear and hesitations to the Lord. Ask Him to move powerfully through you, to move you to worship Him with arms wide open.
The first time I released my fears and hesitations to the Lord, I was so overcome by His Spirit. I felt so moved and connected to Him. Worship became so much more to me. It made me one with Him. It took my focus off of myself and directed my attention to Him, where it rightly belongs.
So, here’s three things you can do today to help move you from fear to freedom in worship:
1. Pray- Take a moment to pray to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for holding back. Ask Him to remove the fear that overcomes you. Ask Him to remove the pride from your heart so that you may live freely in His presence. Declare to Him that you will step out in boldness and worship Him with voices raised and arms wide open.
2. Start Small- I know how difficult it can be to step out from our comfort zones, so I encourage you to start small. It may start with you worshiping the Lord with a raised voice and arms wide open in your living room and then embracing this form of worship at church. It may be raising your arms for one song or part of a song. It may be bowing down to worship and pray in reverence of how Great our God is. Feel empowered with each small step you take.
3. Embrace- When you feel the Spirit nudge you, embrace that moment. It means the Lord is with you. We can trust His character and know that He will not abandon us nor forsake us. Allow Him to work in you and through you as you worship Him whole-heartedly.
SHARE: I’d love to hear how you worship our Great God. Have you been worshiping the Lord from a place of fear or pride? How can you step out in faith and worship the Lord whole-heartedly?