I desperately want to experience real, authentic worship. Even though I grew up in church, and despite my years of playing piano for churches, I am just now learning about what it truly means to worship God.
I used to feel uncomfortable in settings where people showed outward, uninhibited expressions of worship because I wasn't used to it. But they had something that I was missing. They experienced true, intimate worship in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I don't think I ever actively sought to enter the presence of the Lord during times of worship. Maybe I would sometimes ask Him to help me play a difficult song. Or occasionally I'd ask Him to calm my nerves. Yes, I prayed, but I used to make worship about me
when it should have been about Him
I've been reading in 1 Samuel about the life of young David, and I have thought a lot lately about my own worship. When Samuel anointed David to be future king, the Spirit of God fell on David from that day forward. He was a prophet, a poet, a writer of psalms, a warrior, and a skilled musician whose anointed playing on his harp drove evil spirits away. David was an imperfect person through whom God accomplished much by the power of His Holy Spirit. David was a man after God's own heart, and he knew how to worship.
I want to be like that. But do I seek after God's heart like David did? Much of the time, no. Like David, I am an imperfect person who has made some big mistakes. But also like David, I can seek forgiveness and ask the Lord to create in me a clean heart. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in me in exactly the same way as He empowered David. And despite the many ways I have failed Him, God chooses to use me anyway. Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
I am learning that real, authentic worship occurs when I seek to live my life in a way that ushers in the presence of the Holy Spirit. So if I mess up, I need to make it right immediately. Otherwise, the experience of worship will remain elusive. Shame on me if I stand in leadership on a praise team with an unclean heart. Shame on me if on a difficult day in the flesh, I don't seek to enter His presence and draw near to Him through prayer before I serve. Shame on me when I allow distractions to cause me to shift my focus back onto myself or anywhere else other than on Jesus. Lord forgive me where I have failed You in these areas.
When I agreed about a year ago to fill a position in a praise band, I felt intimidated and unqualified to be there. These people really knew how to worship, and I didn't. But my wonderful pastor took me aside and patiently coaxed me to just let go and not even worry about the notes I played. He said I should worship exactly the way I would in my own private worship time at home. I am ashamed to admit that back then I didn't experience those private times of worship he referred to.
But my pastor's encouragement made me more curious about how to really worship. Over time, I started to worry less about what I was playing, and I set out to simply praise my God. I asked the Holy Spirit to teach me how to worship and to anoint my playing. I asked Him to use me and play through me and to let all I do glorify Him rather than me.
Asking for His help in this way was a first for me. It used to be that all I cared about was sounding good. But now all I care about is entering into His presence and bringing glory and honor to His name. My worship is vastly different than it used to be, and so is my heart. Psalm 9:1 I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. 2 I will rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
I still have a lot to learn about worship. But the good news is that I get to spend the rest of my life honoring and adoring my God----and I can do so any time, anywhere. And even better, I get to praise Him for all eternity! I long for the experience of worshiping in heaven. I wonder...what will it be like? Will I be able to keep the tears from pouring? Will I be able to keep from lifting my hands in praise and adoration when we meet face-to-face? Will I fall to my knees when I see Him? Will I even be able to speak in His presence?
I'll find out some day. But for now I have the privilege of entering into God's presence through His Holy Spirit----and that my soul knows very well.