Down In Front

Here’s the scene:

I’m at a UGA football game and there is an enormous logger-headed man in front of me who impedes my view of the game. In one of those moments of dancing to the left and right trying to see the Dawgs offensive play develop, the crowd erupts in applause and yelling. I’m now jumping around to try and see what’s going on. I know it’s good..I just can’t see it for myself..this dang human mammoth is blocking my view!!! The intensity of the cheering crescendos to a peak and then the band begins to play the fight song, “Glory, Glory to ole Georgia”. Even blocked from seeing the touchdown for myself, I still get wrapped up in the emotion of it all and begin clapping along with the fight song, high-fiving my buddies, and hugging complete strangers (read more about ‘passion that makes people do irrational things’ here).

I see proof on the scoreboard that we scored.

I can see the fans response to what they saw and deduce that it really happened.

I can even experience emotion in the celebration of a truth that I did not witness.

Does that make me FAKE?

Am I not a true UGA fan because I missed a play, but still celebrated because I believe it really happened?

Does this same idea apply to my response to worship?

If my view is blocked and I can’t see and recognize God as the Holy King, can I truly worship Him?

If I have something that impedes my ability to understand that I was once dead but now have LIFE, can I honestly raise my hands in victory and/or surrender to the Savior?

If I haven’t truly experienced His love, is it possible for me to get caught up in the emotion of the celebration and disregard the object of the affection?

Is it necessary to remove ALL the obstacles that impede my view of Christ before I can honestly worship?

I need your input..what say you?

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  • monica miller

    No. You cannot worship God if you have no belief. I do think it may be possible for a non-believer to get caught up in the emotion of other people’s worship disregarding the object of the affection, though. But who knows! maybe this could possibly ignite some spark of belief! I’ll bet it’s happened! To worship Christ, you do not have to have every obstacle impeding your view of Christ removed. After all, who in the world has ever had that miracle of omniscience bestowed upon them? You only need to know a teeny tiny bit of what Christ has done for you to give your entire life for him!

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  • Evan Posey

    “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

    –John 4:23

    In this passage Jesus touches on the prerequisites of true worship. He simply states that true worship is defined as a spiritual act based in truth. For the sake of this discussion I am going to bypass the phrase “in spirit” due to the many interpretations and applications of this passage. The phrase “in truth” is much more helpful when answering the questions in your post.

    Let’s look at your analogy…

    As a UGA fan you based your belief that UGA scored on solid evidence:

    1. External Primary Source Documentation (The Scoreboard)

    2. Eyewitness Testimony (The Fans Reaction to the TD)

    3. Internal Reasoning (Scoreboard + Fans Reaction=Internal Reasoning that UGA Scored!)

    In your example, all three of these lines of evidence lead you to the reasonable conclusion that UGA scored a touchdown. We know that this is a reasonable conclusion because each line of evidence helps verify the truth. If the scoreboard did not show a touchdown, the fans did not scream with elation then you could rightly conclude that UGA did not score.

    So, does this apply with your relationship with Jesus? Let’s see.

    Instead of the question “Did UGA score?” we are asking “Am I worshiping God, in truth?”

    1. I recognize God as the Holy King

    2. I understand that I have been translated from death to life

    3. I have truly experienced God’s love

    Given your specific qualifiers, I would say that if any of these three lines of evidence turn out to be false in our life, then we are not worshiping God in truth. What do you think? Any loopholes here?


    • That seems to be pretty tight reasoning, Evan.

      But what if the fans didn\’t respond in a way that looked like UGA scoring? That wouldn\’t have changed the fact that they scored. If the scoreboard showed that there was a touchdown, and I missed seeing it with my own eyes, and the crowd\’s response was not a clear indicator..well..that doesn\’t change the truth. It COULD however affect how I responded to the knowledge of that truth.

      Think about it:
      UGA scores..
      The crowd shows no response or are indifferent..
      I miss the play..
      I look up at the scoreboard and see that UGA indeed scored..
      now what?

      What/who do I believe? The emotion and expected response to UGA scoring doesn\’t match with what one would see as a normal response to that information. And I believe, that would affect how I responded, too.
      I may doubt the validity of the scoreboard.
      Or I may wonder, \”what is wrong with these people..don\’t they know WE SCORED!?!?!\”

      I guess you see where I\’m going..
      Some Christians don\’t seem to respond like I would deem as normal to hearing the truth that they have gone from death to LIFE! And when they are indifferent, it breeds indifference and doubt.

      Your turn..

      • Evan Posey

        We could create a million different scenarios for sure. For example maybe they didn’t cheer because you inadvertently sat in the Georgia Tech section (Go Jackets!).

        This seems to be a question of evidence and certainty. Evidence in that all evidence does not carry the same explanatory scope or power; certainty in that we can only know the likely or probable attitude of a man’s heart by his outward actions.

        This, I think, addresses a much larger issue that mankind deals with. Instead of investing into people and getting to know the heart of an individual through relationships, we make judgments based on outward performance and categorize them as “true worshipers” and “false worshipers”. Notice in John 4:23 that spirit and truth are immaterial metaphysical responses. Do we worship God in our spirit? Do we worship God based on the truth he has revealed about himself? It is through relationships that we have the opportunity to ask individuals questions like:

        1. Do you recognize God as The Holy King?

        2. Have you been translated from death to life?

        3. Have you experienced God’s love for you?

        Their answers to these questions (and others), I believe, have stronger explanatory power and scope. In essence this is the believer’s profession of faith, not their physical response in worship.

        BTW…biblically, what do we see as a normal (appropriate) response to the truth of the Gospel?

      • Evan Posey

        Sorry, a few other thoughts hit me on the way home.

        In the UGA example, the lines of evidence are descriptive and descriptive only.

        In our relationship with Christ the lines of evidence are descriptive as well as prescriptive. That is to say, there is an element of “oughtness” involved.

        For example,

        It is not true that in order for UGA to have scored the crowd ought to scream and yell.

        It is however true that in order to worship God in spirit and truth one ought to recognize him as The Holy King, be translated from death to life.

        The first describes “what is” but the second describes “what is” and “what should be”.

  • Helen Coggin

    Christians experience God without seeing Him. We know Him and He lives in our hearts but we have never seen Him. That is called FAITH. If we have faith all things are possible. He has told us that. The emotion of the worship is contagious. If we “infect” others we have succeeded in being disciples of Christ. Let’s start an epidemic and infect every one we meet.

    • I like the idea of \”infecting\” others. It reminds me of an old Third Day song (read more here).

  • Kerry Courchaine

    With the somewhat recent revival at Lakeland, FL, and an older one at Brownsville, FL, I am confident that many get caught up in the emotion of their surroundings without having a true movement from the Spirit of God. A seminary buddy of mine who attended Brownsville to see what it was all about said that he asked someone in front of him to sit down because she was blocking his view. She quickly obliged without any hesitation. Was she truly experiencing the worship of God or was she caught up in the emotion of the service? Great article, Trey!

    • It is hard for us to judge the hearts of men. I love hearing of revival. I want to see \”revival\” as a constant new normal for our churches! When we TRULY see who God is and what Jesus has can we not be revived!!!

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