When I first got saved, I was in college, and I didn’t find a church home right away. But I fellowshipped with God in my dorm room, and among other believers on campus. I walked by faith, and I knew God was with me–Not because of what I did for Him, but simply because He had revealed himself to me through his Word.
But after I became “churchified,” I started to believe that God wasn’t with me unless I “felt” him. During praise and worship service at church, I was deceived into believing that I hadn’t “tapped into the Spirit” unless I was crying or shaking, because that’s what I saw everyone else doing (particularly the women). I used to try to force a spiritual experience upon myself. I used to try and force myself to cry, shake, fall out, and speak in tongues for no reason. Only then would I feel like I was worshipping God in a fervent manner with all my heart, mind and strength. But I was immature then. Now, I know I don’t have to do all of that to prove to others, or even to myself, that God is with me…. The Word tells me that He will never leave nor forsake me; that he is with me until the end of the world. So, what would it profit me to praise Him with my lips and honor Him with my mouth, but yet my heart is far off from Him?
Now, I’ve gotten back to the point where I realize that obedience is better that sacrifice. God respects a sacrificial life more than he respects a sacrificial praise. Yes, we should give Him the fruit of our lips, but we have to lay our lives down for the gospel as well. When I praise and worship now, I meditate on who God is, his goodness and the sacrifice (Jesus) he made for my sins. I think about where he’s brought me from and where he’s taking me… And if I begin to get emotional and start crying, leaping or running the aisle off of that, then that’s cool. Lol! At least now I’m doing it because I KNOW, and not because I FEEL.