Who Are You Really Worshiping?

Published on 29 February 2024 at 13:28

I remember my sixth-grade talent show as clear as day. I sat in an auditorium chair behind a makeshift stage curtain, picking my nails down to the quick (an anxious habit that was once my mother's to redirect, is now my husband's). I had sung karaoke in our garage on Friday nights, but this was the first time I had sung in public to this extent, and I would be lying if I said some sort of fire was not lit within me. I mean, what young girl doesn't choreograph dances with her friends, and fantasize about performing in some glamorous outfit? As years continued to pass through junior high and high school I was encouraged by family and close friends to pursue singing, which eventually led me to auditioning and leading worship for our church's youth ministry. What started in youth ministry led to leading for main services, and even recording some worship songs with our worship team. But while a teenage girl far from the Lord was singing his praise and basking in the stage light, the Lord was laying the foundation to teach me the most valuable lesson I would learn about worship.


The spotlight was never intended for you.


You see, because of my heart's posture toward the Lord, I had no firm foundation for selfless service or ministry. I had gotten a glimpse of that little girl's dream of performing for the masses, and I had very little acknowledgement or recognition of God's presence even as I sang of his name. Because that's all I did. I sang the memorized lyrics, and called it worship. It wasn't until many years and encounters with the Lord later that I finally understood that worship is meant to lift up His name, His kingdom, and come from a place of total and utter gratitude. Also, I learned that worship does not have to look like singing on a stage. Worship is using whatever Gifts the Lord knitted into your being to magnify his majesty and shine a light for others to follow into His presence. This is not to say that we have the ability to bring others to salvation, but God gave us the great commission with the intent that we would go out and make disciples, helping guide them into relationship with the Lord, while following the ultimate guidance of the Holy Spirit.

A light is not meant for others to be able to see the light itself,

but to illuminate something else to be seen.


Discerning gifts is one thing, but using wisdom to bear righteous fruit from those gifts is another. My early years of leading on a worship team are a perfect example. I had the gift, the talent, the means of communication to spread God's word to fall on deaf ears. But I was not taught how to humble myself, pray over this gift, and YIELD it to the Holy Spirit for His use. To put it plainly, I was not being discipled, and the result was a spiritual child making the noise of a clanging gong for others to sing along with. But aside from musical worship, whatever gift that has been knitted into you requires this same relinquishing of control.

Most of my daily communication with my husband is over text message, and even more so in the form of sending each other videos or reels on social media. I joke that if there was "another love language", my husbands would be communicating with reels! But every now and then, he sends me videos or clips of athletes in press conferences where they are sharing about their faith and proclaiming the name of Jesus. I absolutely love this, because it's just another example of a gifted individual who has not assumed their gift as their own but has turned it back over to the Lord to do his will with. We have to remain humble under God's grace when the world wants to say, "Good for you, put yourself up on that pedestal!". Whatever the gift, be it musical talent, athleticism, written/spoken word, etc., it's our responsibility to turn it back over to the Lord and say, "Okay, now what do you want to do with it?". But that kind of discernment comes with a spiritual maturity that is only possible through intentional discipleship. 

To this day, I still love to worship through song. My audience is no longer that school auditorium, or even an assembly of hundreds on a Sunday morning, but my kids who get a front row seat to a live performance every car ride, as do other, most likely confused, drivers sharing the road. I also love to worship through writing and proclaiming God's goodness through a written word. However, lights are not meant for others to be able to see the light itself. Lights are meant to illuminate something else to be seen. The light we shine as we utilize our gifts should not be to make ourselves more visible, but to illuminate God for others to see. An anonymous quote says this:


"You focus on the depth and integrity of your ministry, and let the Lord determine the width and platform of it."


Let this be a humbling reminder the next time we face the temptation to shine for the sake of being shiny. Means of worship were designed for His kingdom in the first place, so being the mere vessel that worship is poured out from does not give us right to its glory. The good gift is His, the worship is His, and the glory is all and forevermore, His. 

Add comment


There are no comments yet.