A friend posted a quote by Shane Willard yesterday, and it totally rang true:
"We don’t sing worship songs to “inaugurate” or invite the presence of the Lord in the room. We sing to celebrate the presence of the Lord that’s been filling the room, the world and universe since the beginning of time.”
Not only did this resonate in my soul, it’s been burning stronger in my heart the more I think about it.
Whenever I’m in a room, whether it’s during worship through music or prayer or teaching or just living, and we invite God into our space like He’s not already there, I cringe. And I think I figured out why … I cringe because we’re indifferent to our pride. Whether it’s a lack of knowing or thinking about what we’re saying or because we’re just repeating what we’ve been taught and mimicking what we’ve heard, or because of some other insanely human reason, we have to start knowing. And we have to start now.
Pride leads downhill. Like the time I went too fast down a hill during a race and my legs were out of control and I lost my balance and couldn’t catch myself. That’s what pride does. It gets us spinning out of control, off balance, so that we’re no longer able to stay upright.
Pride makes us stuck. Like the hundreds of times I’ve been stuck in a place of anger or resentment toward my husband because I’m unwilling to acknowledge I might be wrong or there might be another perspective besides mine. We can never move forward until I get unstuck from my pride.
Pride diminishes effectiveness. Like any time I’ve considered myself “superior” and someone else “inferior” and it’s caused a strained or ineffective interaction because there’s no room for anything else. And we miss out on the lovely blessings God might have for us instead.
In a cultural trend toward experience-based worship, I hope we each individually wrestle down this tendency toward pride. It doesn’t matter if we’re on the stage leading or in the seats engaging or at home quietly whispering to the Lord … pride will always stunt the growth God desires and the movement He seeks to bring to our lives. If we genuinely want to experience the movement and grace and glorious presence of God, we have to immediately lay down our pride. And we have to do it over and over and over again until it no longer stands in the way.
My prayer today is that I stop inviting God into my presence (ouch – that’s so arrogant) and instead remember that every day I have breath, it’s a mercy-filled opportunity to step into His awe-inspiring presence. He, and He alone, is “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
God has always been. He is now. And He is coming again quite soon. I pray that my thoughts and words and actions reflect that truth … that my life overflows with celebration and worship of who He was, is, and will always be.