Lately, my boss, who is also my pastor and one of my spiritual mentors, Rev. Lionel Young and I have been conversing about worship. This interest comes from a desire to see people worship God passionately with all of their lives and to worship in spirit and in truth when we gather together on Sundays. I suggest you check out his latest blog series on worship here..........
What has been consuming my thoughts these past few weeks is the role of the Holy Spirit in our worship and, more importantly, in our lives. What place DOES He take and what place SHOULD He take in our worship?
The more I thought about peoples' worship on Sunday, the more I was led to think about peoples' everyday lives. If we are not people who follow Christ by walking in the power of His Spirit every day, then can we expect anything but lackluster worship when we gather on Sundays? Churches all over North America hold "worship services" but true worship does not always happen. Could it be that apathetic worship is a result of our failure to let the Spirit of God take His proper place in our lives, in our worship?
Why is it that we are content to think of the Holy Spirit as "a force in the background"? What is it that holds us back and prevents us from giving Him his proper place? Are we scared to yield control to Him? Will God make us uncomfortable? Are we nervous because of the abuses we have seen in the name of the Holy Spirit? We all have seen or know of people that "major" in the Spirit but whose lives are full of sin and unchanged from day to day. Should'nt a Spirit-filled christian be showing fruits?
The truth is that we cannot possibly truly worship God unless it is by the Spirit. (Phil. 3:3) No matter how beautiful our songs are on Sundays or how eloquent the sermon is, these cannot replace the power of the Holy Spirit in people's hearts. Our worship requires so much more than just our heads. True worship must happen at a spiritual level.
I believe that as we look at Scripture, which should always be our starting point, we find that Christians are called to a live in the power of God's Holy Spirit. God has called us to a task that we cannot do alone! (Zech 4:6) Jesus Himself was filled and led by the Holy Spirit, and when he ascended, He gave us this same gift! (Acts 2:33) If we want to see genuine worship then we need to see people living and operating in the power of God's Spirit. If we commit to following Christ and walk in the power of His Spirit, then genuine worship will naturally flow out on Sunday.
I can think of many examples of Godly men and women I know who live in the power of the Spirit of God. It is evident in their daily lives and in their worship. It is a joy for them to follow Christ and their lives bear much fruit. Without exception these people are obediently laying down their selfish ambitions every day and constantly seeking to become more like Christ by the power of the Spirit. What separates these Christ followers from so many others is that they have learned to rely on God's strength and not their own. People that are visibly walking in the Spirit have learned that apart from the Spirit of God there can be no lasting, positive change in their lives. They have learned submission to the One who is above all. Are we willing to simply obey and let go of our own agendas?
What would happen if we constantly began to pray for God to lead us by the Holy Spirit? What if we ask Him to help us to worship by the Spirit before we go to church? What if we ask His Spirit to guide us into truth as we read the Scriptures? What if we let go of our selfish ambitions and allow the Spirit of God to renew our minds and change us into people who worship from the inside out? What if we ask Him daily to fill our lives? If Jesus Himself has given us the Spirit of God, then why not acknowledge the need for His presence in our midst on Sundays and in our lives everyday?