Worship the Lord with All Your HeartBy Sarah Wells
October 1, 2012
(From Sunday's worship service)
During the month of September, we focused on what it means to worship the Lord with all of your heart. We’ve been singing the song, “Closer.” The song’s lyrics read: “Your love has ravished my heart, taken me over, and all I want is to be with You forever. Pull me a little closer, Take me a little deeper, I want to know Your heart. Cause Your love is so much sweeter Than anything I've tasted, I want to know Your heart.”
My husband and I get a little squeamish when we sing along to songs like this. The romantic language used to describe our relationship with God makes us uncomfortable. As a female, it isn’t as much of a stretch for me to imagine dancing in a field of flowers with Jesus, or, like in another worship song we sing, drinking from the cup in Jesus’s hand, laying back against his chest and feeling his heartbeat. I understand wanting to be romanced by the King of the ages. But this depiction of our relationship with God isn’t where I usually go first; I am more comfortable right now for whatever reason with God the Father-figure rather than God the lover of my soul. And my husband, well. He’s a guy.
When we talk about worshipping God with all of our hearts, we aren’t talking about being overwhelmed or carried away by emotion. That kind of a response is the Spirit moving deep in your soul. Worshipping God with all of your heart is to take the Spirit stirring and to “make a deliberate choice to give [y]ourselves back to God in response to all he has given [you]. Biblical worship is the intersection of God’s gracious initiative and our freely given response” (Experiential Worship, Rognlien).
There are some songs that we sing that really get me going at the soul level. They connect something in me that makes me very aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and I am overwhelmed with emotion. And then there are other songs that I simply don’t relate to as well. My tendency is to shut down during those songs, to find something else to look at or to fiddle with. But if I am to take seriously the call to worship God with my whole heart, I have to make a conscious decision to enter into worship, to respond to God, even if it isn’t the image of God I’m most comfortable with.
In the same way that our souls are moved in different ways by songs, we each respond differently to other expressions of praise and worship. The body of Christ is beautiful and dynamic, it waves flags and sings and plays instruments and writes and paints and dances and reads Scripture and plays the organ, it meditates and celebrates and contemplates. Not all of our souls are moved by every medium there is, but we can worship God, with all of our hearts, choosing to respond to God in that moment of discomfort or unfamiliarity so that we might experience God more fully.