RESPONDING TO GOD IN WORSHIP

We claim to be a Bible based church, and I believe that is the genuine desire on most of our hearts. But are we willing to let the Bible be our basis for what we do with our body in our worship meetings?

Most of us respond to God’s worth with our bodies by standing, sitting, singing, listening, eating, and drinking at various times throughout our Sunday gathering. But what about the other postures the Bible commands? Things like kneeling, lifting our hands, bowing down, clapping, shouting, and dancing? God’s worth calls out a whole variety of physical responses from His people!

It’s tempting to beg off at this point with “But that’s just not my personality.” To which I would gently reply, “At what point does personality have to yield to the Scriptures? In our relationship with God, should we always act according to what comes naturally, or should we deliberately practice certain behaviors and become more natural in them over time?” And with some I might add: “Are you sure it’s your personality holding you back? Are you always restrained and impassive, or are there some things (like maybe the Broncos?) whose worth gets your whole body involved, clapping, raising hands, and cheering?”

Someone else might say, “But our culture just isn’t as emotionally expressive as people in the Bible were.” And again, I would push back with, “At what point does our Christian faith call us to be counter-cultural? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to suggest that we might start with how we respond to the works and worth of our awesome God in the worshiping assembly of His redeemed people?” 

Another person might object: “People might look at me if I raise my hands or clap or kneel down in the worship service.” Knowing full well this fear, I would carefully explain what the Bible says about the fear of man—a sinful, enslaving condition where we are more aware of the eyes of others than the eyes of God. 

Finally, someone might just blurt out: “What do you want from us here?!” Great question. I want to encourage our worshiping congregation to respond to God with every part of their being—mind, heart, and body—because God is worth it and because the Bible recommends it. I’m emphasizing the body in this column, notbecause it is more important than the other parts of our being, but because it is sometimes more neglected. And since the Bible commends expressing worship with our bodies, it’s a topic well worth considering.