• Chris Steele

Emotions in Our Worship

Bulletin Article -- Sunday, July 18, 2021


Emotions are a good thing. The Creator put within us the ability to feel the positive emotions of joy, happiness, excitement, and the negative sadness, grief, anger, and fear. We all would prefer positive emotions over negative ones.

It’s easy for God’s children to get fired up when we are with other Christians who feel the same way we do. Think about special events like gospel meetings or Vacation Bible School. For those of us who have been able to attend a Spark event or Polishing the Pulpit know very well how emotions can run high on these occasions.

However, as Christians, there is the weekly experience of positive emotions in our worship and service to God. David said, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). When we read and study the scriptures, it naturally stirs our emotions. “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:8).

No matter the level of emotions we may have, these feelings follow a natural flow from inside each of us. Jesus said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30). Emotion is the individual, internal response of every Christian.

Why is it some church leaders and preachers have decided it is their responsibility to create an emotional atmosphere for worship? They employ charismatic speakers and talented singers (sometimes straying into areas of false doctrine using musicians and actors). Yes, this certainly has great appeal. But does it not lead people to think of worship as the experience, rather than the experience of worshiping God? Are we glorifying God or glorifying our worship?

Unfortunately, we have a new generation looking for entertainment in worship. Many are demanding those dynamic speakers, mood producing music, raising their hands and swaying to the beat like people do when they attend a concert. Creating this atmosphere will naturally draw in the crowds, but it caters to false worship. If people of this mindset don’t receive what they expect, they will feel disappointed the entire time they worship. If the heart is not in it, is it true worship?

If our heart is in the right place when we come into the presence of Almighty God in worship, we will automatically feel our emotions stir within us. “Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and gladness are in His place” (1 Chronicle 16:27). Peter wrote, “Jesus Christ…whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Trying to correct some misunderstanding about the Lord’s Supper, Paul said, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11:28, 29). Paul warned each person to make sure we do not partake of the Supper frivolously. Our responsibility is to be in the right frame of mind, dwelling on Jesus’ death. He did not tell those leading the worship to dim the lights and hum some songs to create a mood for the communion.

Our salvation comes through faith, not feelings (Ephesians 2:8; Mark 16:15, 16; Romans 10:17). Baptism is simple yet profound (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Baptism can occur anywhere there is enough water to be buried into Christ’s death and be raised to walk in a new life in Him (Romans 6:3, 4). Since when do we need to schedule baptisms on the beach at sunrise to create an atmosphere of rejoicing and praising God for another soul saved?

If we are constantly looking for something or someone to set the stage for an orchestrated worship experience to engage our emotions, how superficial is our faith! —Chris

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