It’s not about you. Really, it’s not. Pastor Chuck Smith used to tell a story that illustrates this well. A man came to him one day and told him that he was ready to join the Worship Team. Pastor Chuck told him to be in the sanctuary on Tuesday night at 7:00 and to start singing. The man protested that nobody would be there at that time. With a knowing smile of wisdom on his face Pastor Chuck responded, “My friend, you’re not ready.” The term “worship” (Shachah) in Hebrew means to surrender, to fall down in submission, as we would humble ourselves before a mighty king. Worship is not about you. Listen to the following scriptures:
Psalm 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Psalm 123:1-2 Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He has mercy on us.
Psalm 145:5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.
Notice how the Psalmist focuses on God and not on himself. Notice also that he does not esteem himself; rather he esteems the Lord God. Worship is self-less: Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any sin that you should repent of. Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life means nothing less than the death of self.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Luke 9:23-24 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The self is a huge distraction from worship . . . not just your personal worship experience, but for the whole congregation. God wants:
- Your body
- Your mind
- Your will
This is one reason why my Pastor is very particular about the musicians on the worship team. When I was in secular music, the whole goal was to be a spectacle for the audience to look at and listen to. It was entertainment. In my quest to entertain, I made idols for myself. My idols were famous musicians and I became like them. They were drug addicted and alcoholics and so I became. They were prideful and I was too. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He showed me the grace and gave me the strength to leave those things behind. It took me a year or more before I would commit to playing on the worship team. It took that long for me to feel that I would be playing for the Lord and not for myself. There is a really cool dynamic in worship . . . We become what we worship.
Psalm 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands.
Psalm 135:18 Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.
Jeremiah 2:5-6 This is what the LORD says: “What sin did your ancestors find in me that led them to stray so far? They worshiped foolish idols, only to become foolish themselves.
Worship the Lord and become like Him. Worship idols and become like them. A worshiper must be transparent. He must not divert any attention away from the Lord . . . which means, a worshipper should be certain that what he is doing is in no way self promoting. A musician should be worshipping the Lord while he is playing. That doesn’t mean you cannot be dancing before the Lord. That means dancing for the Lord and not for yourself. It means creating music not for yourself but for God. It means raising your hands not because everyone else has their hands raised but because you are surrendered to Jesus. Christian worship is a joyfully loving and obedient response, in harmony with a nutritive fear of the Lord God Almighty. Worship is both response and reaction resulting in transformation. Loving because of what He has done for us and deepening as we grow in our understanding of what He has done for us.
Psalm 45:1 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.