I've been observing quite a bit in church lately, therefore I am writing this with a troubled heart. The Bible talks about freedom to dance, to sing, to shout, to rejoice etc. We sing songs about the freedom to do these things, yet we stand there stiff as a board barely squeezing the words out of our mouths. What good is that doing you or God? Worship is a pure expression of love to God. Honoring Him for who He is and acknowledging what He has done for us. He's done it all! It's our chance to thank Him and praise Him and rejoice! Why is it that we do none of these things anymore? I could give you so many scriptures where the Bible talks about forms of worship and the freedom that comes with it.
There are times of reverence and quietness in the Lord, and then there are times for rejoicing and shouting and praising God for what He has done! (That is the difference between "worship" and "praise". They aren't the same thing and they are both very important for different reasons.) The victory that is in your life! Um, allow me to say that word again.. VICTORY! Really? When you go to a sports event and your team is victorious do you seriously stand there with no movement or emotion and barely muster out enough energy to say "Oh... yay." Wow. No, I don't think you do that. I hate sports, but if I ever get dragged to an event I am overwhelmed with the energy and I can't help but shout along with everyone else. Next thing I know I am taken away with the moment and excitement! Ok, so God is God. He is GOD! And we can't even give him a little shout?
Another thing, when the worship leader says "Shout to God," why do we clap? Clapping isn't shouting and there is an importance in the "shout"... The book if Joshua is a really good book, read it sometime, but it talks about Joshua and the Israelites taking the land and in Chapter 6 the Lord gives specific instructions on how they were going to get into Jericho:
Joshua 6:1 "Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in."
Per the Lord's instructions, theyobeyed him and marched around the city. Now look at this!
Joshua 6:15-16, 20 "On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!"..."When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city."
"Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!.. the wall collapsed!" Look what victory they had when they shouted! The walls came down! The walls that were up, letting no one in. That is a miracle! How many walls in our lives do you suppose would come tumbling down if we shouted?
I have been on both spectrums in a praise and worship environment before. I was once that person who stood stiff in refusal to make a move or a sound. Maybe it was out of fear of what people would say about me or how they would look at me. Especially when everyone around you is just as quiet. Why be the odd bird? Just be quiet like everyone else and you will be just fine. I've now come out to the other side where I don't care what anyone thinks and if I need to shout, then by-golly I'm gonna shout! That's my victory right there that I could be passing up!
If a whole congregation of people came together and truly worshipped the Lord recklessly and expressed ourselves however we felt to do so, what sort of work do you think the Lord would be free to do? If we came into that room KNOWING that we already have the victory! The battle has already been won! The walls of Jericho have come crashing down and we are free to run in and take the city! EEEEven if, our circumstances look miserable, we feel tired and cast-down, or we are majorly subconcious about our outfits today and "omg is everyone staring at me right now?.. Who does she think she is coming to church today?".. duh. We all have our "things" in life.. But I am telling you from experience, what is it hurting you to let loose, trust God a little bit and shout, dance, scream, rejoice, do whatever, and see if He won't come? He HAS to come! You're applying your faith through your act of worship and believing that He has already done what He said He has! What a slap in the face to God when we don't act like we know He's done something for us.
I don't know about you, but I just made myself excited and now I want to go shout and dance! Ha! But really, if ever I have felt strong about an issue then this is it. Because I let myself go years feeling all bound up and beat up in insecurity or unworthiness. No more! There will be none of that! So I dare you... next time you are worshipping in a congregation or even if you just go home and try it out by yourself.. let yourself be free in His presence and shout and dance and jump and rejoice and PRAISE Him! It may feel weird at first or even that you are faking it.. but I promise you.. you will hit that place and it will be like a mighty rushing river. And that is the place where you can get all that God has for you!
Be encouraged and rejoice in the Lord today!!!