Many Christians have likely experienced emotionalism – the moments at various worship services and events when excessive focus is placed on a person’s emotions. Often, you will see it in places where “decisions” or “worship experiences” are elevated above proper worship of God or, quite frankly, above the gospel. In its ugliest forms, the leader attempts to manipulate the congregation’s emotions to meet whatever their end goal is. and emotional atmospheres are dubbed “a move of the Holy Spirit.”
In the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles very clearly detail how modern-day believers are to worship and approach God.
The atmosphere of our walk with the Lord is grace and mercy. It flavors every second of every day, even when we are too dull or distracted to notice.
In the book of Exodus, God gave Moses incredibly detailed instructions on how to build the tabernacle. God left nothing to Moses’ creative ability, and He directly inspired the artisans while guiding their hands (Exodus 31:2–5). Every piece of furniture was built to exact measurements with specific materials and placed in a specified location. Every item had a purpose, and nothing was to be made out of order. Giving these instructions to Moses, God charged him, “And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain (Exodus 25:40).
God also detailed to Moses how He was to be approached and worshiped. He did not give His people freedom to “wing it.” They were not supposed to create their own methods and styles of worship, whether corporate or private. Why? Because He communicated His person and character as holy, and His people were to act in a manner reflecting that.
While the Old Covenant ceremonial laws no longer extend to the church, how we live and worship is still not up to us. Just as worship was laid out for Moses on Sinai in the Old Testament, Jesus and the apostles very clearly detail how modern-day believers are to worship and approach God in the New Testament.
- Worship is revealed in Christ’s commands. Go through the New Testament, especially the Gospels, and mark every time Christ gives a command to His followers. What does He expect from us? Christ is, in a way, blazing a path for us to the foot of God’s throne. Do we wish to walk with Him? Then we must do as He says. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
I was reading a really sweet book in a big box bookstore recently, considering whether or not it would be one worth bringing home for my family. It was a kids book, one written to tell children that God delights in them, which is certainly true. But it seemed to go a step further. It put the child in the center of all God’s hopes and dreams, as though the child is what God lives for.
This is not a “we should feel bad about the idea that God loves us” post, by the way. That’s not really my jam, anyway. God absolutely loves and delights in his people. But what stopped me from purchasing this book is that I want my kids to have a bigger picture of God than this book offered. I don’t want them to see themselves as being at the center of God’s dreams, because, frankly, that’s way too much pressure.
I want them to see God as approachable and as a God who delights in them and rejoices over them as Scripture says he does. But I want them to rejoice in knowing his happiness isn’t dependent upon them. That we don’t worship a God who can be manipulated or controlled in that way.
This is going to be one of those, “Jesus is not safe” posts, isn’t it? Well, sure, but only because it bears repeating. There is a difference between approachable and safe. An approachable Jesus is the one we find in Scripture. The one who invites us to come boldly before the throne of grace. A Jesus who humbles himself and takes the form of a servant, submitting himself to obedience, even to the point of death. If one might be so bold, he is approachable because he approached us.
There is a difference between approachable and safe. An approachable Jesus is the one we find in Scripture. The one who invites us to come boldly before the throne of grace. A Jesus who humbles himself and takes the form of a servant, submitting himself to obedience, even to the point of death. If one might be so bold, he is approachable because he first approached us.
Some show little to no emotion and that seems to contradict the great emotional release and joy food in Christ, but on the other hand some demand great shows of emotion that seem clearly contrived. Both ends need to evaluate what they are doing and expecting. Good article on the second extreme.