I sat with my eyes closed and listened to music and words lifting up the name of Jesus. I was a part of a circle formed by others who had come together seeking the heart of God and we had certainly found it.
The presence of the Lord held us as if the walls were His arms and the chairs we sat on was His lap. We continued to sing and worship and enjoy Him. He continued to encounter us with a mighty outpouring of His love.
As my thoughts drifted towards the connection between God and worship I saw a vision of the Lord walking around the room and embracing us one by one. It was a simple vision but felt very profound. It tugged on my spirit like a child on its mothers arm. I was lost for a moment in the imagery of the almighty God embracing us as we praised Him.
This is a beautiful picture but it uncovers an issue I think many of us have, even if we don’t even realize it. I think some of us have trouble with God and worship. We struggle with the idea of a God who is love but demands praise and worship.
I struggled to understand that. God is love and love is not self-seeking but God wants to be praised. My brain wanted to explode at times. But here is what I’ve begun to understand:
Worship isn’t about power it’s about intimacy.
We’ve all grown up in a world that runs on a flexed-muscle system of power–A power-over mentality. It’s a mentality that says we can control people weaker than us. It’s a system operating like a vacuum sucking praise and worship into a bag labeled “Power”. In the world system, praise and worship feed power.
But the kingdom of God is NOT the worlds system. The kingdom of God operates in a power-under mentality. That is, there is great power in self-sacrificial love. We are powerful when we serve others. The most powerful thing Jesus did was let the world kill Him. In His death and resurrection He made a mockery of the principalities and rulers of the world as Paul says in Colossians.
However, because we’ve grown up in the world many of us have ascribed world leader characteristics onto God. We sometimes see God as one sitting on the throne as we feed His power tank with praise and worship.
But I don’t understand that to be an accurate representation of the Father. What God showed me that night at home group was that when we worship Him He engages us. When we hug Him, He hugs us right back. Sometimes He hugs us first and fills us so completely that all we want to do is praise Him.
Song of Solomon 4:11
Your lips, O my [promised] bride, drop honey as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under your tongue. And the odor of your garments is like the odor of Lebanon.
Our words of affirmation are milk and honey to Him because they are coming from the ones (us) who have captured His heart with just one glance.
We don’t praise a God who needs worship to fill some kind of power need. We praise a God who wants intimacy with us…a God who desperately wants to connect with us.
Jesse and Kara Birkey
Jesse and Kara Birkey are committed lovers of Jesus who seek to show others the extraordinary life of Jesus is available for everyone. They have authored two books, been featured in films and seek to serve the Lord in whatever ways they can. Follow their blog here.
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Life Resurrected, Extraordinary Miracles through Ordinary People has been endorsed by Sid Roth and Mark Virkler and is a collection of inspiring stories making it clear that the extraordinary life of Jesus is available to all who love Him. It’s also the testimony of Jesse’s life, the road he travelled bringing him into the arms of Jesus. Get the paperback here. Get the Kindle Version Here. View the trailer here.
Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess is the story of their marriage—The tragedy and the restoration. They bear their hearts in an attempt to get others to bear theirs and finally receive the freedom they’ve longed for. Get the paperback here. Get the Kindle Version Here.