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Discovering My Style of Evangelical Christian Worship
My Personal Worship Style
Better understanding my own worship preferences and that they are valid styles of worship has caused me to draw closer to the Lord in my own way under the authority of His Word. It has been a wonderful revelation to find that worship is not simply something you do in church on Sunday morning. It is a lifestyle. Knowing myself has allowed me to better know Him and better understand the beautiful concept that I am made in His image and for His glory. It is a comfort to know that He can glorify Himself through my personality and personal preferences in spirituality. It has caused me to fall deeper in love with God, knowing He would love me enough to not only make me one of a kind, but chose to let me worship Him in the way He has given me the desire to!
I have always loved Matthew 22:37, in which Jesus says: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” It has always seemed an almost overwhelming privilege to me to be able to study an infinite God. I’ve always known this about myself, but I was just a little surprised to score thirty out of thirty on this Spiritual Inventory. Worshipping God with my mind has always been an enormous part of my walk with Him. There was one summer when I read a thick version of Systematic Theology just for the fun of it. After getting my first real job, I immediately purchased The Complete Works of Josephus, a three volume commentary and dozens of other books about God and His Word. Nothing makes me happier than sitting on the floor, highlighters in hand with at least three books open and my Bible in the center.
Though I knew I enjoyed learning about God, no one had ever told me that this was a valid form of worship. Hours seem like mere seconds when I’m curled up with my Bible, coffee and a dozen books. Now I know that the way time flies when I open a commentary or two is because God has made me with a particularly strong desire to love Him with my mind! And because I am created in His image, loving Him with the mind He gave me is a perfectly acceptable way to worship and glorify Him.
My second highest score on the Spiritual Inventories was the twenty-six I got for Traditionalist. I come from a Calvary Chapel background, which is known for being slightly less than traditional in the common use of the word. However, the simple things that are repeated each week such as the Lord’s prayer, or my pastor singing acappela Scriptures has always brought me great comfort. In the words of Fiddler on the Roof: “Tradition! Tradition!” To me, ritual has always seemed like the embrace of a cozy sweater. I have always found great consolation in “sameness.” I tend to read my Bible in the same place at the same time every day, so in a church culture that is decidedly “Pacific Northwest,” it has been wonderful to know that seeking solace in the familiarity of ritual is still as acceptable for the church today as it has always has been, and that it is a means of worship.
Finally, I scored a fifteen in Contemplative. Coming from a fairly non “touchy-feely” family background this one came as a surprise to me. I have always thought of myself as someone who does not particularly enjoy talking about feelings and tapping into emotions. However, in my most intimate times with the Lord, nothing moves me more than to hear His gentle Spirit whisper the concepts of Scripture, “I love you, I care about you, I desire to be with you.” Nothing causes me to be less at peace than ceasing to feel Him near me. Knowing that I am loved deeply and desired by the Creator of the Universe has always been particularly important to me. It is a thought that I carry in my heart and caress with my mind on an almost daily basis. It comforts me in times of discouragement and causes my heart to soar in times of joy.
Understanding the joy of worshipping God in my own way has been a joy and brought an extra measure of peace into my walk with Him. I’ve found that things I didn’t even know mattered are actually, acts of worship. By God’s grace, I have begun to cease “coveting my neighbor’s walk,” to borrow Gary Thomas’ words. I hope to continue in learning new ways to worship God and becoming more skilled at the styles which He has endowed me with. Learning to better praise God for His infinite love and mercy has strengthened my relationship with Him in a beautiful way.