I Am No Longer Anti-Worship
“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O Lord , in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.” Psalms 5:7-10 ESV
For most of my life, I didn't really find the Psalms appealing since I didn't think they related to me. For instance, many Psalms talk about enemies. So in high school I thought, “Well, because I'm such a nice, passive, and loving guy, I don't really have any enemies right now.” (1) Post-high school, I didn't find the Psalms relevant because they contain a lot of raw emotions of the Psalm-writers. Since I considered myself an intellectual, heartless, no-nonsense enemy of all things gushy or sensational, I didn't find the Psalms to be applicable to me.
A key turning point in my attitude came the day I met my pastor from Minnesota at my college campus. Although I have attended churches and ministries throughout my entire life who sang to God in worship to Him, I rarely if ever participated with the singing. Rather, I only thought about the meaning of the lyrics and made the worship a completely intellectual exercise.
So this day I met the pastor for the first time, he spoke about a dimension of worship that I rarely if ever heard before. He said that demons hate worship, so worship is spiritual warfare. This consideration caused me to think about praise and worship in a fresh way. Such a dimension of praise and worship seemed to address its “masculine” aspect, whereas before I didn’t find its “feminine” aspect of expressing emotions to be as practical or relevant for me. (2)
Over time, as I thought about this other aspect of praise and worship as spiritual warfare against demons who hate it, I had more motivation to try singing to God from time to time. An interesting cycle began to occur over time as a result. As my ability to discern spirits (good from evil) grew over time, hatred for what is evil (demons) increased over time, and love for God increased over time. (3) Although I may have started to try singing out of hatred towards demons, love for God increased when I began experiencing Jesus’ victory over demons in my own life. (4)
As I began to experience God’s power and victory in my life, my love for God increased. The more my love for God increased, the more my singing to Him would come from a heart of love for Him. Although I didn’t sing to God for most of my life, despite being physically present in worship services on a weekly basis among others singing to God, nowadays I praise and worship Him in various languages via YouTube in my room on a near-daily basis. Why? Because I have experienced His power in my life, I see Him as worthy of my praise.
In large part, this happens because I make the Word of God the standard for my life. That which Jesus did and greater things is my standard (1 John 2:6; John 14:12). Learning that I should expect miracles to gradually become more a part of my lifestyle, just as they were for Jesus, I see that God has a purpose for my life rather than me just coping with life until I get to heaven. Thus I desire to increasingly become more and more like Jesus in my character, attitudes, words, actions, and miracles as I live out my identity as a citizen and representative of Jesus/heaven.
To learn more about Jesus and how you can ask Him to change your life, I recommend my article here.
Now I understand that I do have enemies. Not people--but evil spirits who indwell people and want to steal, kill, and destroy them. C.f. Ephesians 6:12; John 10:10. So whenever the Psalms talk about enemies, we can ask the Holy Spirit through such passages to teach us about how the demonic realm operates.
This masculinity/femininity dichotomy was just my cultural perception at the time. To the contrary, spiritual warfare and casting out demons is for both men and women, just as expressing emotions and singing is for both men and women.
1 Corinthians 12:10f; Romans 12:9
By learning that my bad habits, sins, bad attitudes, failure mindsets, etc. had a demonic root, I could finally apply the correct solution (the blood of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit) to the exact root cause of the problems.