Thursday, May 25th
Devotional written by Josh Green, Worship Leader
OBSTACLES TO WORSHIP: PERSONAL PREFERENCES
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
In John 4, Jesus has a conversation with a Samaritan woman, which was unheard of at that time. Samaritans and Jews were social enemies who would go out of their way to avoid each other. A Jewish man conversing openly with a Samaritan woman in this patriarchal society was incredibly strange and looked down on. Samaritans and Jews had differing views, and they both felt their way was the right way. Jesus’ conversation with this Samaritan was not about her sins but about the proper way to worship God (John 4:19).
As someone who has grown up in the church, the most heated discussions were not views or beliefs regarding Armenian vs. Calvinism, post-tribulation vs. pre-tribulation, or old earth vs. new earth; they were over worship styles and preferences. I’ve seen and been a part of many churches that have split over this decision, and I’ve seen people leave based solely on worship styles. When arguing about preferences, are we aiming for unity or our preference? The best litmus test is whether our discussions and efforts create the fruit of the Spirit or the flesh. We must come to church to worship God as He is, not as we want Him. We must come to worship Him by bowing down, not exalting ourselves.
There will always be songs that you enjoy and songs you enjoy less. There will always be worship leaders that are easier to follow and others that are more challenging to follow. There will always be styles that make you feel at home in worship and others that make you more of an observer. We are fallen people in a fallen world, and the church is not exempt from the fall’s consequences. But how much more do we need to lay aside our preferences and wants to make way for Spirit and Truth? As a worship leader with strong opinions and preferences, I often remind myself of Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
REFLECTION: As a youth pastor, I taught my students this phrase: “My way? No way. God’s way? Yahweh.” Though cheesy, ask the Holy Spirit to transform your heart to enjoy worshiping with the church in the unity of creed and song more than the song choice and style.
SONG RECOMMENDATIONS: No One (Yahweh) by Maverick City, and We Believe (Newsboys)