by Jeff Hill
Yesterday at Christ’s Church we began a new teaching series that deals with powerful words that can bring about some important changes in our lives. Sunday our lead pastor talked about the word “Wow” as it relates to the things we worship. If you missed the message yesterday, you can check it out here.
Do you ever wonder why some Sunday worship experiences seem just “okay,” while others leave you with a “WOW”? Perhaps a concept of the various roles our own soul, mind, and spirit play in worship can help us understand what makes the difference.
Worship with Your Soul
The condition of our soul is the core of our relationship to Almighty God. Our soul’s condition doesn’t vacillate from day to day like our mind or spirit can. Our soul doesn’t focus better one day nor get distracted another, like our mind does. How do you worship with your soul? I think this is foundational, as explained by the apostle Paul in Romans 1:20, 21:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him . . .” (NIV).
Worship with the soul starts with simple acknowledgment of who God is. We need to recognize his power, try to grasp his eternal sovereignty, understand our place, and give him thanks.
Worship with Your Mind
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that “we have the mind of Christ” (NIV). How does this impact worship? Having his mind means more than just head knowledge. Rather, the mind of Christ involves an understanding and agreement with God’s plan for us and his kingdom.
With our minds, we agree with God’s purposes, and focus our attention completely on him. We clear away any distractions in our thoughts that might divert us away. It’s an active engagement of the mind, thoughts, and convictions in worship.
Worship with Your Spirit
Have you ever walked into a church building for a worship experience and just felt the positive energy in the room as soon as you entered? Does a certain song give you goosebumps every time you hear or sing it? Have you felt joy or peace or even grief so inexpressible that you cry out to God with such passion or emotion that you could never explain it to someone else? You barely understand it yourself. When we worship God with excitement and fervor from a heart that craves more of his presence in our lives, I think we’re entering that area of worship with our spirit, described by Jesus in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (NIV).
In some ways, our spirits worship in ways that are beyond our comprehension, and yet, we can open ourselves to engaging with God and others in this mysterious realm.
I think that worship experience “high” comes when we’re able to worship with our soul, mind, and spirit all at the same time. Our soul is in awe of the power and majesty of God. Our mind is focused, engaged, and in agreement with the gospel of Christ. And our spirit is pouring out our passion and excitement for Heaven. It’s the trifecta; it’s the triple play; it’s hitting on all cylinders! That is the WOW experience of worship.
Have you ever stopped to consider how events on earth create a response in Heaven? For instance, in Luke 15:7, Jesus tells us, “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (NIV).
When one soul is redeemed on earth, Heaven responds! With that in mind, let’s consider music itself. At its core, it relates to expression of emotion. God created it, so it should come as no surprise: God sings! We relate to music because God does. It’s one of his languages, evidenced in Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (NIV).
Not only can we impact angels rejoicing, God himself responds and rejoices over us with singing. Some versions of the Bible even say loud singing! Can you imagine our time in Heaven when we will get to sing with God for all eternity? I get goosebumps just thinking about it. But why do we think we have to wait?
In Luke 19:40, Jesus rebuked some religious leaders who were criticizing his disciples for praising the Lord when he announced, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (NIV). Worship is happening all around us. It’s a constant cause and effect: a response to and from God that cannot be stopped.
Sending Wow Moments to Heaven
In light of all the disgusting things God sees and hears in a day, imagine how he feels when the church, his most valued possession out of all the beauty he created, gathers in praise and worship! How it must refresh him to the core! And when the Holy Spirit is refreshed, he refreshes our own spirit as he indwells it. No wonder our prayers and praise are like a fragrant incense to God.
King David declared, “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2, NIV).
No wonder we, in turn, feel personally refreshed when we praise the Lord. In response to such an exchange, why would we think God would just sit there unmoved, silent, like a bump on a log? God responds to our praise with rejoicing. I think God sings with us when we praise him with our whole beings, as Psalm 103:1 exhorts: “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name” (NIV).
What a change to our approach when we not only view our participation in worship, but also our participation with the Almighty God in worship! Can you sense it from the depths of your soul? Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Does your spirit explode inside of you with emotion and passion you cannot express? It’s the church reflecting the image of God back to God himself. We don’t have to wait. Don’t let the rocks do it in our place. Participate NOW in the WOW of worship!
Jeff Hill has been a member at Christ’s Church for over twenty years and has held various leadership roles during that time. Professionally he is a pharmacist and personally, he is husband to Martha, father to two daughters, and Poppa to favorite grandson Caleb. Recently he authored the book, Seeking the Triune Image of God in You, which can be purchased here.