I will be writing this series as a way of carrying out a final detox of my spirit from the influence of the Jesus Christians in my life. This is not about exposing them, but about exposing a spirit that has been hindering my spiritual growth in Christ. This spirit may not be limited to the Jesus Christians. But I hope that as I confess it, I will be delivered of its power in my life.
- How can you worship God when you are judging others?
For the longest time, I have struggled with worship. I really have. Praise and worship was not the practice of the JCs. They were not strong in prayer either. Their praise was dead, and their songs were more songs of teaching or criticism of those in the Church and the 'System'. Their praise and worship was about obedience, and they were content for that to be limited to their lifestyle, and not an emotional relationship with God, which they likened to sensationalism or religiosity. Rather, they were 'spiritual' (or 'Christian, but not religious', as they loved to say).
Since I subscribed to their beliefs, I had no choice but to accept their way as the way. Because those who praised God with wild abandon were judged! I was told that:
1. They don't know Jesus, because they don't obey Him (they have not forsaken all, i.e sold all their possessions and given the proceeds to the poor);
2. They praise Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him (i.e. their praise is a show);
3. They worship money and mammon six days of the week, and come to offer praises once a week, while we work for God everyday!
So, no matter how beautiful the songs were, no matter how true the lyrics, no matter how inspiring, I could not enjoy them - that's if I would be allowed to listen to them. I remember that among the songs they hated the most were the ones where people sang about Jesus' name (e.g "Jesus, What A Beautiful Name"). The JCs mocked them, saying they will only exalt His name and not His word.
So, in a congregation of others who are lost in worship, looking to God, there I would stand, judging them. Thinking they are pretenders. And when I sought to be lost in worship, I could not. I was so focused on the words, that I couldn't get into the spirit!
I do praise and worship God (and I also love to listen to Gospel music, particularly Hillsong!), but I know that I have been stunted in my growth towards deeper intimacy with God through praise. I judged the musicians. I judged the Pastors, who I believed were living fat off their congregations. And it will be hard for me to look at a gathering of people and not judge their motives, but rather thank God that they CHOSE TO COME!
Lord, please forgive me. Thank You for freeing me to worship You in Spirit and in Truth!
Today, I sang this song in the shower with wild abandon. It inspired me to start this series. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but mostly, that it ushers you into the presence of God.
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