I was just sitting here thinking over the last several days. Our nation has certainly witnessed some incredible things with this election. People were passionate about the political process. They were passionate about their candidate, their beliefs, and the change that they believe needs to come to this nation. Emotions ran high… sometimes too high as people argued and displayed behavior that was childish and immature. The passion and emotion that was shown during this process at times was even inspiring. I think it is awesome to see people so motivated and inspired about the country, but I sit here and wonder what would happen if that same type of passion and emotion was displayed by those that are part of the church and call themselves Christ-followers?
Are we suppose to have passion and emotion about our faith? Are we suppose to show that passion and emotion as we walk this life? Are we, God forbid, to show passion and emotion even in our church services? I think we do God, other Christ followers and those that are not Christ followers a great disservice if we do not. Why should we contain passion and emotion as we worship our God?
Jesus said that the greatest command was to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. I love this, because in saying it the way He did, Jesus was saying that we are to worship our God with our entire being. With all of who we are. The soul certainly is the seat of our spiritual longing, that which causes us to yearn for something greater than ourselves. The mind is the part of life that processes truth, that deals with facts. The heart is the seat of our emotions. I am SO glad that the Scripture puts it the way it does. Many try to tell us that emotion has no place in our worship. But to say that, we are denying the fact that God has made us emotional beings… and He did that for a reason.
- If we only love God with our soul, we will find ourselves latching on to many things that call themselves spiritual, and will find ourselves worshipping things that have nothing to do with God.
- If we love with only our mind, we find ourselves loaded down with facts and we can dupe ourselves into thinking we are great Christians because we know so much.
- If we love God with only our emotions, we can substitute a feeling for obedience and rely on that to drive our Christian experience.
So, any one of these by themselves is not enough. I believe that our spirit drives us to know the true God, and when we find Him, and realize who He is and what He has done, we worship Him with a passion and emotion that he has designed us for, and that is contagious to those that do not know Him. Remove any of this, and you do not have a full love for God.
Before you read any more, I am not pastor bashing here. I do not face this situation where I am at. I have an awesome pastor to work WITH (emphasis added on purpose!). He is awesome!
I have heard preachers say that you should not show emotion during the singing part of the service. They say that it lets the flesh get involved (uhh, hello! emotion does NOT equal flesh), and when you get emotional, it puts the focus on you rather than God. How stupid is that? How contrary to how God made us! Should we not get emotional about the cross and what Jesus had to go through there? Should we not get emotional about the fact that we have been allowed to come into a relationship with God, and there is absolutely no reason God should have done that for us?
It seems many preachers only apply this to the music in a service. Why only the music? From what I have seen, the pastor usually feels intimidated because there is no response to his message. He gets intimidated because people get excited in their worship of God through music (and other things in the service), but then offer no excitement when he speaks and there is no response during the invitation. He should be asking himself why is there no emotion and passion from the people during his preaching or at the invitation? I think many times it is because there is so little passion, preparation and prayer from the pastor in the construction of his message.
Think about it. It is hard to get excited about a message that is ill-prepared, or that you have heard before… maybe even 2 or 3 times before. So, instead of asking himself the hard question of why, he just decides if they are not going to be passionate and excited for the message, he does not want to see excitement, emotion and passion at any other time. God forbid! It is all about him after all. That is called personal kingdom building, and has nothing to do with building the Kingdom of God! Think about it, when is the last time you heard a preacher say that you should not say “AMEN” during his preaching? Is that not an emotional response? You bet it is, and it is no different than being emotional during music or any other time during the service. Why would someone want to suppress something that God has made us to be? We are emotional by design! So, go ahead, be emotional! God gave you permission, you do not need the pastor’s permission.
Oh, one other argument some pastor’s have made about this: showing emotion brings attention to a person and not to God. That can happen. People can seek attention in their worship by being emotional, and that is a wrong motivation and expression of emotion. But do we dismiss all emotion because of someone like that? I think not. I have known more than one pastor that draws attention to himself in (or out of) the pulpit by trying to get the affection or sympathy of his people. Is that any different? Actually, I think it is worse.
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Love Him with all your being. Be passionate! Be emotional! If we can do it in politics, we can certainly do it when it comes to the worship of the Creator of all things! God made us that way!