If you’re a worship leader or involved in any capacity in music ministry in the Church, I want to invite you into a moment with me. A moment of worship. A moment of truth. An understanding that is critical to your ministry of worship to the Lord and as you lead the Body of Christ!
(1) WORSHIP is not about music, it’s about allegiance! (loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause. Loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, obedience, homage, devotion.) When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and Satan offered Him the world if he’d fall down and worship him, he wasn’t asking for a song. He wanted His life. His allegiance. If you’ve ever heard the song BAPTIZE MY HEART….”I pledge my allegiance to Jesus” (IHOP Misty Edwards) you know it blares with declaration of allegiance to Jesus!
However, not in the sense of being a rip-roaring Christian, standing up for your rights and fighting a physical war of strength, as I’ve even imaged when declaring the song. Although the song does invoke zeal, to be sure! It’s more about staying true to the Lord, His love, His Word and His commands. Living in the love of Christ. To be a bondservant of Jesus (Ephesians 6:6, Galatians 1;10) and surrender our will to the will of the Father, even to the death. Yes, even to the death. Those are powerful words to sing and we should stand in fear and awe of the very implications of them.
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(2) Our enemy doesn’t want our song, he wants our allegiance! He wants our obedience. He wants our worship. He wants us to profane God’s Word through disobedience in order to draw, not just us, but the world away into deception and despair. Not to mention the condemnation he wants us living in so we never come close to God! Simply put, WORSHIP IS OBEDIENCE!
Anytime we confuse an “act” of worship with “worship” itself, we can be deceived. Many have called worship, “music” or the time of corporate “worship” with music as our worship before God. Or “dance” is our worship. Some understand the ministry of “worship” to be about a praise team and band or dancers or instruments, etc. These are amazing and beautiful expressions before the Lord and He honors and receives them, but they are not “worship” in its essence (the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individual feature or features).
The ministry of worship begins with the beautiful demonstration of God’s love toward us in the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:9 & 10) and our gratitude in light of that revelation. It’s our lives before the Lord, daily, in every moment in devotion and obedience to Him. I do get it. I understand music is what “worship” has become, but that is not the biblical mandate to “worship”. God would much rather have our devotion and honoring of His Word and commands than our songs or sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
At times, if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves “worshiping” worship, and the music and the artists who serve God in this fashion.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying music is not important. It’s most certainly part of our priestly service to God and the history of our forefathers bears that out, especially in the dispensation of King David. However, God Himself declared that if our hearts were far from him, our ministry of song and sacrifices would be useless to Him (Matthew 15:8; Amos 5:21-24).
Always our worship begins and ends with God and He is worthy of the whole of our lives laid down in worship. I love how the Passion Translation puts it in (Romans 12:1).
“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.”
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