Last night I got the opportunity to go to Campus Church for the first time.
It was absolutely incredible. The band got on stage and the lights were going crazy and the music was blasting at full volume, moving the entire crowd into verses of Forever Reign and Here For You. The atmosphere was heavy and you could just feel God right there in the room with you.
And then our campus pastor, David Nasser, got up on the stage.
I have heard David Nasser a few times before, once at a youth conference when I was in high school and a few times since being here at Liberty. But one thing that David Nasser said last night really resonated with me. It was something that I had thought about before but until last night had never completely made sense.
Do we worship worship?
Let’s look at the definition of worship.
Noun: the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity: the worship of God | ancestor worship. • the acts or rites that make up a formal expression of reverence for a deity; a religious ceremony or ceremonies: the church was opened for public worship. • adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage, shown toward a person or principle: our society’s worship of teenagers. • archaic honor given to someone in recognition of their merit.
show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites: the Maya built jungle pyramids to worship their gods. • treat (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity: she adores her sons and they worship her. • [ no obj. ] take part in a religious ceremony: he went to the cathedral because he chose to worship in a spiritually inspiring building.
So the question really is, do you show reverence or adoration only for the FEELING or EXPRESSION of reverence or adoration?
That may be a bit confusing so let me explain in easier terms. Do you adore the feeling you have of reverence more than you adore God himself?
People today get so caught up in what they look like when they worship. Some are afraid of being too outgoing, so they stay in solitude, afraid that if they so much as clap during the worship set they will be judged. Some of us want to close our eyes and raise our hands and pretend that we’re having an intimate moment with God, just so we can give off the appearance that our spiritual lives are healthy. Some of us want to run up and down the sanctuary, laughing and jumping and shouting for God, because that’s what we grew up with and that’s what we feel will make people believe that we love God.
There is nothing wrong with being reserved, there is nothing wrong with closing our eyes and lifting our hands, and there is definitely nothing wrong with jumping for joy as we sing along to the music. These things only become wrong when we care about them more than we care about who we’re singing to.
Romans 1:25 says “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”
What do we worship? Do we worship created things instead of the Creator himself? We get so caught up in what is happening on stage or the butterfly feeling in our stomachs that we completely forget that we are singing to Lord, to exalt Him and make His name high.
There is nothing wrong with standing reserved, in awe of who God is and wanting to have a personal, intimate moment just between you and Him. There is no sin in closing your eyes in prayer and lifting your hands in surrender to God. There’s not even anything wrong with running, screaming, laughing, and jumping simply because you cannot stand still in the presence of your Maker. These are personal worship experiences that are unique to each person. The sin only comes when we worship the act of worship more than we worship the Father, our God, the Creator of the universe who is worthy of every honor and every single praise we could possibly give Him.
“Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.” Psalm 100:2