Fear and Worship

Posted: 6th January 2011 by Marshall Mabry in Praise and Worship
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Hypocrisy consists in an attempt to “imitate” the people of God, or to assume the “appearance” of religion, in whatever form it may be manifested.  (Albert Barnes, “Notes on the Bible”)

We can not worship God without fear. Jesus commanded us not to fear man, but to fear God who can throw our eternal souls into hell. There is no magic formula to the definition or meaning of “worship.” It is certainly not limited to the praises we sing. Worship is simply – “obedience to God’s commandments.” Jesus said “if you love me you will obey my commands.” We all know the opposite of obedience is “sin.” Either you live a life of worship or you live a life of sin. Worship is our way of giving back to God out of a thankful heart for all He has done. A life of worship manifests out of loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

We can not worship God and be disobedient. Our lives were created by Him for His pleasure. We can not worship Him in truth and spirit — if we have idols.  Nothing should take our attention from pleasing our Holy Father.

If we are giving back to the Lord, our sacrifice must cost us something. I once heard it said that in order “to find divinity you must lose your dignity.” Worship must never get comfortable. If raising your hands causes you to feel undignified, raise your hands! Not out of fear for your soul, but in submission to your belief in His worthiness to be praised and honored. Furthermore, it signifies that your dignity in the sight of man means nothing compared to your humbleness in the sight of God. Be careful in your worship, raised holy hands are clean hands, washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. You must not worship or pray in public in a manner contrary to how you would worship or pray in private. Your worship must have integrity to be in “truth and spirit.”

Fasting is a way for man to deny the desires of his flesh, for the strengthening of his spirit. Undignified worship is a way for man to deny his own pride, to free his spirit to worship.  Reckless abandonment may be the ultimate intimacy in worship for the prideful and arrogant.

It is a worship leader’s goal to know God’s heart.  Comfort is not an option in the pursuit of this quest.  To know God, we must forfeit all that we have gained and loved in order to devoutly follow after Him. We must learn that life is about giving and not receiving. The more we try to hold on to things in this world, the more we keep ourselves from getting closer to heaven and our King Jesus. A broken and contrite spirit is what God can use and honor.  In the heart of an undignified worshipper with a passion to praise our Holy God is where He lives and He is blessed.

Worship requires a true humbled attitude in awesome reverence towards His holiness and blinding glory. We can not come into His sanctuary without reverent fear. It is a journey each of us must make alone.  There in is His awesome presence; we will have no complaints, no excuses, and no plea. We will have no words at all. We will have a speechless heart of praise. We will be amazed and awed. But, we will be still and know that He is God!

The evolution of worship can be pictured like this: I tried to describe this process in terms of our attitude, our outward body posture, our inward feelings, and our spiritual position in relation to His holy sanctuary in our hearts.  If you notice, this progression should resemble the pattern of a life of worship.

  • Praise (standing and singing, hands lifted, gladness and joy, outer/inner courts),
  • Prayer (on our knees, humbleness and humility, The Holy Place, offerings, supplication),
  • Stillness (prostrate, facedown, awed and amazed, Holy of Holies)
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