Authentic Worship

Hey people,

So sorry for the hiatus. I had very busy weekend; birthday on Friday, get-together at my house on Saturday to celebrate my birthday and recovery on Sunday. Thing is life is about to get even busier for me cos I start training for a job tomorrow but hopefully, things will get better in that regard. I want to say big thank you to all of you that consistently follow the blog. The Kikster told me today that there are 146 people following this blog which is mind-boggling to me because I don’t think I know up to 146 people but that’s God at work as far as I’m concerned. This blog was His idea in the first place so it figures. So thanks everyone for the outpouring of love and support; facebook messages and emails as well as feedback my close friends give me from their own friends who read the blog. I’ll keep writing as long as I’m led and who knows….maybe even meet you guys. I have no clue what God wants to do with this blog but I know He specialises in the impossible so I continue to dream big.

Alright guys, so I usually start writing with a concrete idea in my head and a direction with regards to where I’m going with what I’m saying. That’s not the case today though. I have a couple of ideas floating around my head that I’ll try to string together into a coherent message. I woke up this morning really tired but I had to haul my behind out of the house to get a jog in before I set out for the day. Fast forward a couple of hours later and I’d had a serious argument with my mother (shouting was involved and I was in the wrong at the end of the day which I detest). Now, I knew that God wanted me to apologize to her but I really did not want to do so and I started to justify myself in my head “Well if she hadn’t started shouting first, maybe I would have calmed down and listened to her”….blah blah. I could just feel the Holy Spirit nudging me to do the right thing and thank God that I did. Now I’m blessed with a mother who is quick to forgive; she was still upset when I spoke to her on the phone to apologize but I knew that things were right between us.

While I was deliberating over the need for me to apologize, one of the thoughts that came to my head was whether I was worshipping God with my behaviour. I know that the general view of worship is singing “worship songs”in church on Sundays, Wednesdays during mid-week service and sometimes in our quiet time with God. However, one of the things that I have learned is that God is not moved by what you do in church on Sunday if Monday to Saturday you’re messing about; disobeying His word and generally being a bad representation of Him. I had a conversation with a lady last week at a job interview and she was saying that she doesn’t understand how people can wear jeans or trousers to church. The lady was wearing trousers to this interview and I was about to ask why she was wearing them when another lady beat me to it. She answered; “Well this is a corporate environment, not church so it’s different”. I remember thinking that this is part of the problem with our Christianity. The Bible did not say that God was looking for people who will worship Him with the songs they sing, the clothes they wear and the number of times they attend church. It said that He was looking for worshippers that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” – John 4:23

When I first read this bible verse, I struggled to understand what it meant by Spirit worship and true worship. So I started by looking up the meaning of the word “worship”. Now “worship” can be a noun or a verb. There’s the act of worship and there’s the state of worship. Often times, we concentrate on worship the verb (the act of worship) which includes coming to church on Sunday and taking part in religious rites; raising our hands to heaven in church when we see others doing it or wearing skirts instead of trousers or jeans so we can look like we are obeying God. But often times there’s a disconnect between worship the noun and worship the verb. If you’re doing worship (verb) as opposed to being a worshipper (the noun), then you’re wasting your time and God is sincerely uninterested. When worshippers are being sought, He will look you over. To be a worshipper means to show God reverence and adoration. When you respect and adore someone, you will not want to do anything that would make them upset; when you revere and adore God knowing that He is all-knowing and all-seeing, you won’t disregard Him when making decisions, you will be wary of disappointing Him and when you do (we are all flesh, so this is pretty much inevitable), there will be that part of you that won’t be well until you make things right with Him by confessing, asking for forgiveness and repenting. So the way I see that verse is that God is looking for people who will worship Him internally (in their minds, hearts and souls) as opposed to those who worship Him solely with external acts. Most times, you find that people who focus on the external acts of “worship” suffer from pride in their religiosity. The Pharisees were a classic example; they took such pride in their piety and could not understand that none of what they did impressed God in any way.

I sing in the choir in church and I’m one of those that are on stage pretty much every Sunday. I know that my job is to lead people into the presence of God and in order to do so, I have to connect with God in worship. This means that I can’t just sing the songs but i have to actually mean what I’m singing. I will not lie, there are times when I’m on stage and my mind drifts off to other things like whether I’m hitting the right note or if the sopranos are harmonizing properly. God forgive me but there are even times when I drift off and start to think of what I’m going to eat for lunch (hides face in shame) but God often gets my attention back and encourages me to focus on Him and I find that the more time I noun-worship Him the other days of the week by spending time with Him in the word and in prayer, telling the truth, being kind, sharing Him with other people, it’s much easier for me to verb-worship on Sundays.

Now I’m not saying that churches where ladies are made to wear skirts as opposed to jeans and trousers are all bad. In TPH for example, ladies in the choir are not allowed to wear tight-fitting skirts or trousers to sing. This is because we understand the kind of people that we are trying to lead into God’s presence (the kind of people in the congregation). We don’t want them to be so distracted by the fact that the lady in the front row is wearing a tight pair of trousers or a tight skirt, that they forget they’re meant to be focusing on God. Now the lady in question may not have thought that there was anything wrong with what she was doing and her hear my have genuinely been connected to God in worship but the fact is that she did not do her job as a worship leader. If she had been a member of the congregation wearing trousers, then I don’t belive there is anything wrong whatsoever as long as she noun-worships outside the church building (including her decision to wear those trousers, ladies we need to dress appropriately for our body types both in and out of church but that’s another post for another day). On the flip-side in TWB, ladies in the choir are allowed to wear jeans on stage because the congregation there isn’t distracted by that; it’s a much younger church in terms of demographics so that is not an issue.

So what am I saying today people? In summary, don’t think that authentic worship rests in your ability to sing the loudest or your recollection of the most worship songs. I’m sorry, but if you’re sleeping with a man who isn’t your husband from Monday to Saturday and you come to church on Sunday wearing the longest and most loose-fitting outfit, singing all of the worship songs and singing them the loudest while you’re jumping and screaming and raising both hands to the highest heavens, God is not impressed and He will look you over when true worshippers are being sought. If you worship God in all you do from Monday to Saturday and come to church in a pair of jeans and a shirt (knowing in your heart that you are dressed decently), God is pleased with you and you will find it effortless to connect with Him in worship. Now I have to say that there are times when people take it too far especially the ladies. You also worship God in the decisions you make on what to wear so wearing some cleavage bearing outfit in and/or out of church does not worship God. You know the motive in your heart for wearing that and the Holy Spirit in you is strong enough to convict you that what you’re doing ain’t right. So let’s stop focusing on verb-worship people. Let’s noun-worship; that’s the kind of worship that moves the heart of God.

Alright my darlings, that’s it for me today. As usual, I hope this speaks to someone and I look forward to your comments and feedback. Have a lovely week ahead.

Toodles,

Grace’s daughter

 

7 thoughts on “Authentic Worship

  1. Abs says:

    Adaobi,

    As usual, this post is spot-on! I still don’t understand why wearing jeans on a sunday and not a monday gives one a first class ticket to heaven. I think the reason why some people have this mindset is they treat church as a place one gets marked up/down for good/bad behaviour. Things like this do not impress God: Remember when God wanted to choose a new king for Israel and He schooled Samuel on how He makes His choices (1 Samuel 16:7 – Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” So even though some people might think their pastor is impressed that they are not wearing jeans, he/she is only human and the ultimate being whose approval we look for – God- is not fussed. HAHA!

    One more thing, I have a question about something you mentioned about people being distracted by women in trousers. What do you mean by distraction? Do you mean they would be lusted after by the people in the congregation? Are men in the choir allowed to wear the super skinny jeans that is the rave right now?

    • aokwodu says:

      Hey Abs,
      Thanks ever so much for your comments and encouragement :-D. They really do make my day. As to you rquestions, I’m not talking about guys lusting after your because of the way you dress although that’s a consideration but it’s very minor. I’m talking about the general congregation, their backgrounds, how they were raised, etc. Imagine if you were raised your whole life to believe that you don’t wear jeans to church much less tight ones. The truth is that is how most of the older generation was brought up and although some of them have let go of those mindsets, not everyone is at the same stage of spiritual maturity. If they come to church and see the choir wearing skinny jeans, it will be such a distraction to them that they won’t be able to concentrate on the service because they’re questioning whether this church is really ‘holy’. Whether or not they’re right or wrong is not the issue. The bible says that God has not created anything unclean but is eating meat will cause your brother to fall then desist from it. See 1 Corinthians 8 from verse 9 and Romans 14 from verse 21. I hope this helps and please let me know if you want me to talk more about this

      • Ladi says:

        Great point. My church (ECWA) is a Northern Nigerian majority so we are a bit more conservative (you might mistake my village church for a mosque). No wearing of trousers and hair must be covered (even in Abuja). Then add to the fact that most of the elders grew up in the village before going to UNI and all, so their mindset is different from youngins in the city. Even wearing tights under a skirts and insanely fashionable heels are apparently a distraction (an usher actually told me an older man was annoyed with my wearing a solid pantyhose under a dress- no skin was showing o!). This made me uncomfortable I was glad I was only here for holidays. Its always a struggle for me when I go home because I feel just the way you do about worship and holiness not being limited to church buildings. But because that’s the culture of most people who go to the church, I suck it up and tie my headtie and wear my skirt so that service goes peacefully.

        Anyway, great post as always. I hope we can all keep up worshiping God in our actions every single day rather than ceremoniously.

  2. eloxie says:

    Hi Grace’s daughter, amazing post!

    Thank you for redefining worship from that impression that worship is a ‘slow song that comes after praise to which we lift our hands when we feel like and close our eyes’. I agree wholly with you and would like to say truly, authentic worship means to offer our lives. It’s who we are every day and our obedience to God’s spirit in the little things that worships God. So that our lives shine before men when they see our good deeds and ‘glorify (worship) our father in heaven. Our lives worship God when like Job, God can boast about us for standing firm , doesn’t matter what the neighbors feel, (Job’s neighbors/ wife had no clue that amidst his suffering, his life was worshipping God), so you see, our worship to God is between us and Him. But just take a minute to imagine God’s pride when we choose Him even when it is the road less travelled, where our decisions are premised on a love for Him and a desire to please Him and not man. That truly says He is our king and when we do that, we worship Him. Truly, when we please God, our lives send forth such an amazing aroma of purity, beauty, love and compassion that is just heavenly, because the human emotions ex-God cannot act in such a manner. That’s whom God is seeking, worshippers in spirit and truth, Monday to Sunday. Dobs, thanks for reminding us what God desires and may God give us the grace, everyday to bring to Him truly authentic worship…

  3. Rashel says:

    Just want you to know I am reading your blogs and I am enjoying each entry. It is obvious that God is doing beautiful things in your heart, mind and spirit. God Bless you….

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