God On The Lookout
If you are reading this then my guess is you already spend quite a bit of time worshipping at church, or listening to worship music. As often as I can I try to remind myself why we worship. Knowing the ‘why’ stops it becoming a mindless routine. One great reason we worship is that the God who has everything is actively searching for something:
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” (John 4:23).
Let’s repeat that: God, the God who has everything, is actively searching for something.
God seeks worshippers.
He desires them.
Moreover, God desires a particular kind of worshipper. Two that clearly caught His eye are Paul and Silas in Acts 16:16-40. Arrested and in jail they sang songs late into the night.
We all have times in our own ‘Philippian jails’ – a relationship that has gone wrong, depression or anxiety, a tough exam period or life simply life grinding us down. Sometimes all we see are the chains and the prison walls. To worship in truth is to praise God despite the circumstances. To give him glory and declare his lordship in the midst of our suffering, not simply when life is going our way.
This sort of worship makes a statement. Acts 16:25 tells us that “the other prisoners were listening.” Paul and Silas must have seemed a little crazy to begin with (do you remember the first time you went to a worship service?). But after a while I bet the others realized something: they were listening to two men in chains, in stocks, in the inner cell of a jail - who were free! They were in chains and yet they were free. Most of us think you can worship God or live ‘free’. Yet the world is full of slaves to money, sex, power, celebrity. To worship God in spirit is to praise Him from your inner person, your very guts, and it’s the only way to real freedom.
Lastly God responds when we worship. Is today looking tough? Are you afraid? Do you have people and problems that you don’t know how to overcome? When you offer God your worship from this place, declaring his truth and singing from the spirit, he’ll say – ‘Aha! At Last! I’ve found what I was looking for!’ In this case God got so excited he caused an earthquake! It’s not just Paul and Silas who are set free, everyone is, “all the prison doors flew open…” (16:26). I can’t tell you the formula but I do know this: when we worship God moves. His love takes over, we are set free, and so are people around us!
Andy is the co-senior pastor here at Soul Survivor Watford church and has been leading the congregation alongside Mike for five years now. He spent three years studying theology at Cambridge University, and completed with a first. When Andy isn’t reading C.S. Lewis books on his own in his study, he’s often down the gym working on his biceps. He has co-written a few books including ‘Everyday Supernatural’, ‘Lifelines’, and ‘Storylines’. Andy is married to Beth and together they have three beautiful boys called Josiah, Judah, and Caleb. We love you Andy!