Although both worship experiences were very different from our Southern Gospel - hymn based worship services in the church where I attend, I was surprised how different they were from each other.
Hillsong Live was dynamic, exciting and had you on your feet the whole time. Not just for young people, I saw people of all ages participating in the worship. I got a kick out of a balding guy close to our section who jumped up and down as if he were on a pogo stick during the whole time. Next to him, two teenage girls were worshiping with the same abandon.
The Travis Cottrell service was a more reflective type of worship. Instead of jumping up and down with joy, I felt more like giving honor to the One who has loved me so much.
Both good experiences. Both valid emotions.
My friend and I were talking about our expectations before we went to Hillsong. He wanted to be in just the right frame of mind, ready for worship when he got to the venue where Hillsong was. He wanted to be in perfect standing with God so that God would bless him mightily during the worship.
I can certainly relate. I wanted that, too.
See, my friend and I both had the wrong expectation. It's not about us! We were not there to get blessed. Blessings are a by-product of any real worship experience, but you don't go into the experience worrying about what YOU are going to get out of the thing. It's all about HIM! We were simply there to show Him how much we adore and honor Him.
My friend discovered something: "It's about basking (in His presence) where you are at!" We don't wait until we are some spiritually mature being of perfection before we can feel His presence when we worship.
We don't live by feelings. We live by faith. We worship Him in spirit and in truth, regardless of how we feel.
John 4:23-24 HCSB
But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth?
I love what David Guzik, Enduring Word Media, said about this particular scripture,
Yes! My friend and I wanted to be spiritually "all cleaned up" in order to receive from God. Instead we needed to remember Jesus has done all that is necessary to be clean to God - He looks at us through the blood of Jesus.
i. To worship in spirit means you are concerned with the spiritual realities, not outward sacrifices, cleansings and trappings.
ii. To worship in truth means you worship according to the whole council of God’s word, especially in light of the New Testament revelation.
Caution: I am not saying that introspection and wanting our lives to be free from anything displeasing to God is not a good thing! It is! We should be continually examining our motives to be sure that we are living holy lives.
I'm just saying that in order to worship, we come to God "Just as I am."
I'm sharing this today in community with Duane Scott, Scribing the Journey: