Enjoying God and worship


Worship is fun for the person who enjoys God.

The favorite pastime of the person who enjoys God is worship. His heart resonates with the hymn, “Early in the morning, my song shall rise to Thee.” It is of course far more than a past time. In a way, it is a full-time occupation. But it is never drudgery. It is not work in that sense. Worship is the delight of the person who enjoys God.

The person who enjoys God needs worship. He craves it as a couple in love crave to be together. If this seems crass, consider this usage of the Greek word gnosko:

Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Luke 1:34 (KVJ) How shall this be seeing I know not a man?

It is clear from the context that the word refers to the couples knowing each other sexually. In fact, the NIV removes all doubt: “‘How can this be,’ Mary asked, ‘since I am a virgin?’” Knowing God is similar to spiritually making love.

There is a close relationship between enjoying God and worshiping God. It is impossible to worship what we do not enjoy, and impossible to enjoy what we do not worship. This relationship is born out in the parallel structure of the first line of Mary’s Magnificat ( Luke 1:47-48). In Hebrew parallelism, both lines mean the same thing; they simply repeat, or amplify the meaning. Read it with this in mind:

“My soul glorifies the Lord,

And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

If we understand the parallelism, we understand that glorifying God and rejoicing God is roughly the same thing.

Young couples in love do not have to discipline themselves to be together. And people who enjoy God do not have to discipline themselves to worship. They understand Psalms 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

The person who enjoys God loves to stand and sing endlessly to God. He does so privately and he loves to be with God’s people at worship. People who enjoy God get into it. Their whole body gets into it. They sing very loudly. They raise their hands, just as people at basketball games and concerts do. It is not a point of theology for them; it is a matter of enthusiasm. People who enjoy God occasionally dance before the Lord, as David did. Once again, it is not some kind of statement to them. It is not a clenched fist rebelion against relegion or anything else. It is overflow. People who win lotteries jump up and down and so do people who enjoy God.

People who enjoy God delight in singing directly to God, telling Him of their love for Him and their satisfaction in Him. They prefer singing to God rather than about God.

Of course, different personalities express their joy differently. We are not all wired with happy feet. My feet, for example are 100% Baptist. Southern Baptist. No one ever accused me of dancing. Even when I was trying to dance they did not recognize it as dancing. So, I don’t dance much. Someone asked, “Can Christians dance?” Answer: some can and some can’t. I am one of those who can’t.

Some people express praise in silent adoration, like people staring for hours at the Mona Lisa. It is to them a joyful, exuberant, clamorous praise. We are not all alike.

All other things being equal, we worship God best with music we like the most.

Enjoying God does not affect a person’s taste in music. People who like country music and come to enjoy God still like country music. This is not a sign of indwelling sin. It is just taste. People who like hot Mexican food do not come to hate it when they learn to enjoy God. All other things being equal, we worship God best with music we like the most.

That is why we ought to have churches that are very different in the way they encourage their people to express their joy in God. We ought to have churches that are very solemn, and places where the walls rock. We ought to have places where people sit, where people stand, where people dance and where people weep. We ought to have churches with pipe organs and churches with drums, guitars, and synthesizers.

The person who enjoys God enjoys knowing that it is his Friend and Father on that throne. That changes everything.

But for the person who enjoys God, the primary worship time is not at church, although he loves that. When he thinks of worship, he thinks of something he does alone, at home in the morning. He thinks of something that happens at his easy chair, or at the kitchen table. He thinks of an open Bible and an open heart. It is quiet on the outside, but a loud orchestra is playing in his heart. A choir larger than he has ever seen, a choir of thousands, is singing in his imagination. Like John on Patmos Isle, he sees heaven. “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.” (Revelation 4:1 ) An open door is an invitation to enter.

I suppose you would say it is in his imagination, or perhaps it is in his spirit. But it is very real. Real enough to make a difference in his perspective all day long. For what he sees through that open door changes everything. “There before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.” (Revelation 4:2) A throne. He meditates on what that means. A throne suggests power, authority, control. And the throne is occupied. Occupied. Someone is sitting in it. Sitting. He is not standing, wringing his hands. He is not pacing the throne room of heaven. He is not sweating. He is not worried. And the person who enjoys God enjoys knowing that it is his Friend and Father on that throne. That changes everything.

When traffic jams and cranky bosses and wired-for-sound children wreak havoc with their day, they remember the occupied throne. God is in control. Nothing is happening that did not pass by that throne. And if it passed the throne, it did so for a reason. God is sending another course on character development. God is still working at developing in them the fruit of the Spirit. He who began a good work is not finished yet.

Worshippers have learned to throw a party when trouble comes. It is hard to get a person like that down. James 1:2 makes sense to them, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” They have learned to value character over temporal comfort. They know that character brings ultimate joy, a joy that cannot be shaken by circumstances.

This is what worship does for people who enjoy God. It refocuses their minds on the God on the throne.

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