It’s no secret, I’m an emotional human being. I’m either on top of the world or in the deepest darkest pit of my life… or at least that’s what it feels like at the time until I come across the next pit, and then that becomes the deepest darkest pit of my life. I’m the gal that gets way too emotionally invested in TV shows. If my favorite character dies or something tragic happens, this girl is laying on the floor sobbing. A certifiable emotional disaster. And often times I gauge whether or not a TV show is good or not depending on how much it “gets me”. If I’m not crying at the end of each episode, it’s not a good drama to me.
I used to feel the same way about corporate worship. If I didn’t have an emotional-high, tears-in-my-eyes, hands-waving, feet-dancing kind of worship experience, I thought I must not have done it right. I’d feel discouraged and disappointed and excluded. All these other people around me looked like they felt something, so why didn’t I? But looking back, I think I was asking the wrong question.
God gave us feelings. He perfectly designed emotions. They are important. They’re a gift. But they’re inconsistent. Things and people who are inconsistent often lead to disappointment. And I think a lot of us, myself included, can easily get disappointed and discouraged when an emotional high isn’t reached in a corporate worship setting. But can we be real for a second…
when we think or feel like a worship experience lives or dies on how we feel, we need to take a look inward and ask ourselves who or what we’re actually worshipping.
Are we worshipping to feel good about ourselves? We might be worshipping self. We might be worshipping our feelings, those inconsistent little boogers. And when we do that, we miss out on the glorious experience of authentic worship of God Almighty, who is perfectly and undoubtedly consistent.
He is immutable. Incapable of change. That’s why we can sing with confidence “Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be” (Thomas Chisholm). We give ourselves too much credit when we make a bold claim such as “God didn’t show up this Sunday morning because I wasn’t feeling it.” Our feelings are not fact. And they are sinful in nature. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” But doesn’t the God of the universe deserve to be praised even when we don’t “feel like it?”
Our feelings will change. I used to feel super cute in brown gauchos and patterned tights (insert face palm) and now not so much, praise God. But scripture tells us God will never change. “For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?" (Psalm 18:31). “For I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). That is why we worship, whether we’re feeling it or not. Because he is our unwavering hope. Jesus Christ. Perfect Jesus. On a cross. Enduring a death we deserved. So that we could be made right with God.
Jon Bloom says it well, “God designed your emotions to be gauges, not guides. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you. The pattern of your emotions (not every caffeine-induced or sleep-deprived one!) will give you a reading on where your hope is because they are wired into what you believe and value — and how much.” (desiringgod.org) With that I want to encourage you to worship from that place of hope in Jesus, not self. From a place of confidence in God’s unwavering character, not our ever-wavering emotions. Because He is WORTHY.
Other Scripture to Consider
1 Corinthians 13:4-8