SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN WORSHIP

The most recent edition of Leadership magazine is focused on spiritual warfare.  The mix of testimonies by individuals struggling with spiritual darkness or demons and reflections by church leaders who have experienced adversarial spirits in their churches or in lives of parishioners are all reminders of the Apostle Paul’s warning,

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

For those who plan and lead worship there is fresh reminder in this focus to relentlessly hold to centering worship in Jesus Christ, relying upon the Holy Spirit’s power to convey the truth of the Gospel.  I am convinced that worship, as an aspect of full-orbed discipleship and Christian formation, is central in Paul’s prescription for winning in the spiritual struggle;

 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  (Ephesians 6:13)

 Ineffective worship is too often worship that has been hijacked by selves.  Could it be that the gate of temptation has been left wide open by a well-meaning worship leader who has allowed the “I” of “Here I am to worship” to become the controlling point and interpreter of what worship even is in the first place?  Is this not the very way we may have ushered in the disparity between what God’s Word teaches and what studies say our people actually believe?  Where the Word teaches clearly, there is “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all,” (Eph 4:4-6) and where Jesus announces, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) researchers tell us that those in the pews believe there are many ways to eternal life, and nearly half are given to an individually defined pluralism or universalism.  This “have it your way” theology that is rampant among church goers is especially troubling among teens at a crucial age of maturation.

The “have it your way” mentality is far too often fostered through misplaced worship focus that confuses meeting people where they are with sending messages that encourage self-absorption more than the character of God and clarity of Gospel.  I believe it is Bonhoeffer who notes Satan’s work on Adam and Eve in the garden is not to introduce atheism, but rather idolatrous religion.

I pray those of us who have opportunity to plan corporate worship including the selection of music and other materials that will guide the corporate weekly worship, will be granted the courage to faithfully make choices that return trust for the efficacy in worship to be the work of the Holy Spirit as God is revealed through His Word, His people, and testimony of His actions in the world.  The war rages on.  Let’s take care to be armed and dangerous to the enemy.

Explore posts in the same categories: Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

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