Standing in front of the congregation at church this morning, singing praise and worship to the Lord, there was joy in the room that I could not only feel, but also see. Most of the time I have a dual focus; 1) worshiping my Lord and Savior and 2) making sure I change the slides at the right time so the congregation can follow along :). I do not often look at individuals in front of me because I feel awkward doing so, almost as if I’m an intruder in something that is very special to each person. This morning, though, I couldn’t help it. As we started service with “Come, Now is the Time to Worship” my eye was caught by one of my Sisters joyfully singing and moving to the music. I heard her separate from the rest of the congregation and no other word could better express her whole being than joy-filled. It was contagious and I could feel the smile broadening on my face and my spirit lifting as I sang praise to God. ‘This is what worship should feel like,’ I thought to myself as the song continued.
While acts of worship come in various forms (from singing and praying to giving and studying His Word), I have always been especially moved by worshiping through song. I sing at my church with the music team that can consist of 2-5 people on any given Sunday. I am not standing in front of the congregation to perform for them, but rather, I am standing and singing praise to my God, giving glory to Him, and encouraging others to do the same. Every now and again I am reminded of where my focus should be and last week it happened as I was watching TV.
Strange, you think. Well, I do, too, but let me explain. I was at a friend’s house indulgently watching her TV (I do not have cable at my house) and caught “Dancing with the Stars.” I remembered hearing that Candace Cameron Bure was on this season and wondered if she was still in the competition. To my delight, she was (and still is!). The remaining stars had meetings with someone they respected and looked up to and they showed a short conversation Candace had with Angela Thomas (Angela’s thoughts on taping the segment can be found here) who is a Bible teacher and author. I was thrilled when I heard them discussing the joy that is evident in Candace when she is dancing and that is because her joy is complete in Jesus Christ.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy. – Psalm 16:11a
And then Candace spoke of how, while she does enjoy dancing in front of all the people, she is really performing for an audience of One. I was just so amazed by seeing her so strongly and solidly standing in her faith in an arena that very rarely shows appreciation for such convictions. You can watch it for yourself here. When I relayed that part of the show to a younger friend of mine she commented, “It kind of makes you think, ‘What am I doing?’ doesn’t it?” Had I been 12 as well, I might have thought the same thing. Instead I was able to explain to her that our faith is something we live out and is evident to the people around us. We have influence that reaches much further than we imagine and God uses it for His glory when we stand in and exhibit that faith, whether we are on national television or hanging out with our friends. What matters most is that audience of One. As long as it is Him we are serving, praising, worshiping; as long as He is our focus, nothing else really matters.
And that’s when I thought of myself, standing up in front of church, and wondered how often I really do focus on my audience of One and how often the words come out of my mouth but my mind and heart are elsewhere. When the latter happens, I know there is no joy there; how can there be when my focus is on how I’m going to get my finances in order or how I do so wish a guy would walk into my life and sweep me off my feet….yea, not so much where my focus should be. But when we focus on the One who gave it all on our behalf, taking our sin upon Himself that we might become His righteousness, then and there do we find our joy and rightfully worship the only One who is truly worthy of any of it. Then can we lift up our hands and give it all to our audience of One.
Praying you are able to find your joy complete in the only One who can complete us all,
Love & Blessings,