By Alicia Purdy, Crosswalk.com
Here is a secret that Satan doesn’t want you to know about worship: It has the power to defeat him.
Of course, you have many spiritual weapons to use in every fight of faith you’ll ever encounter in your life—the most powerful one being the Word of God. However, while prayer and the Word were given exclusively to the people of the Kingdom, worship was Satan’s before it was ours.
Satan understands the power of worship. He understands its purpose more than many Christians do. Satan understands that worshipping God draws you closer to Him—and above anything he ever tries to do, He wants to keep you apart from God!
Of course, nothing can separate you from God’s love, but plenty of things can separate you from connecting with the Spirit of God in worship. Well, it would be more accurate to say this: Plenty of things can make you feel separated from God in worship.
The truth is that you have as much access to God’s holy presence in worship as you ever did. But sometimes we feel like we can’t because we aren’t “worthy.” Satan expects that your natural inclination will be to avoid worship altogether or to just go through the motions when life gets hard, or when you’ve messed up, or when your emotions don’t “feel” like it...so he will throw everything he can at you to keep you trapped and disconnected.
If you want to throw Satan off his game in worship, here is your 5-part winning strategy:
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1. Be Bold
Satan’s primary strategy is to keep Christians self-centered and self-conscious so that you never develop a God-consciousness. When you praise and worship the Lord, your mind is utterly fixed on Him, and you deliberately sacrifice and intentionally set aside your own situations, emotions, opinions, problems, worries, weights, and sins—and everything else involving self—to worship the Savior.
Sin is the primary way we become disconnected from God in worship. Not because He left us, but because we walked away from Him. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” the author of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 4:16.
Psalm 34:5 says, “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.” Spiritual boldness is shocking to Satan because he wants you scared and trapped in sin.
If you want to throw Satan off his game, worship. No matter how hard it is, no matter what you have to sacrifice within your “self.” Exalt the Savior. Satan will never see it coming!
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2. Be Worthy
There is no spiritual qualification to praise and worship the Lord when you are in Christ. None. You are counted worthy. Paul wrote, in 2 Cor. 5:17 that if you are in Christ, you are a completely new creation. Not a repaired, glued together old creation. A new one that never existed before!
Of course, you should, “Walk worthy of your calling,” as Paul wrote (Ephesians 4:1), but one of the things we all struggle with is that we “judge ourselves unworthy” (Acts 13:46) and we don’t enter into worship because we think God still counts our sin against us.
Will you experience the natural consequences of sin? Yes.
Will you feel distance between you and God each time you willfully disobey? Yes.
But in Christ, you are still worthy.
“Feeling” worthy is a lie from Satan.
You may never feel worthy, because you aren’t...but Jesus is! Because of Him, you’re still worthy, even when you sin. That’s because your worthiness isn’t dependent on your actions, but on the actions of Jesus Christ.
Should you continue in your sin? “Certainly not!” as Paul wrote. (Romans 6:1-2)
But whenever you’re struggling with sin, Satan will use that “foothold” to try and drag you further away from the presence of God. Worship the Lord! His presence is transformative, healing, life-giving and powerful. And, because of that, Satan knows he’ll lose the war if you worship.
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3. Be Unashamed
One of the most effective ways Satan tries to keep the people of God apart from the power of His presence is through shame. Not the shame of sin (see above), but the shame of “self” expression in worship. Remember being “self” conscious will prevent you from being God-conscious.
Is everyone looking at me? What will people say if I clap or raise my hands or shout hallelujah? Or testify? Or weep? Or prophesy? Or dance? These are all scriptural expressions of praise and worship, yet we become so encompassed in what others will think or how they’ll react that we forget about what God will think, or how He will react!
When it comes to praise and worship, no Scriptural expression should be off the table, and, in fact, each one should be incorporated. But that’s easier said than done, because of pressures and expectations and “the way things are done.” But if God isn’t ashamed of how you want to express yourself worship, why are you?
Gratitude is the origin of worship, but the sacrifice of “self” is what ignites it to a whole, new level. Want to catch Satan off guard? Do something in worship you’ve never done before! He’s tried to trap you and he thinks you don’t know how to get out.
Jesus Christ set you free, now worship like you believe it!
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4. Be Committed
A lifestyle of worship is what will carry you through to the other side of every dark valley. Many times, we think about worship as something for “us” when, really, worship is all about ministry to the Lord, not what the Lord can do for us. Blessings, help in trouble, refreshing, a word in season, healing, and everything else are the natural results of true worship, but should not be the reason for worship.
Jesus is the reason we worship! Worship is a spiritual discipline and developing a lifestyle of worship takes intention, like anything else does.
When you don’t feel like worshipping, you won’t do it. However, it’s similar to losing weight, or working on your marriage or even taking care of your kids—when you don’t “feel” like it, something greater than yourself compels you to act because you’re committed.
Soon, the more committed you are to developing a lifestyle of worship, worship soon becomes your natural response to life—and that will make all the difference! “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God,” the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 84:2. This desperate desire to be close to the Lord comes from...being close to the Lord!
Satan wants you busy elsewhere, too tired, too frustrated, too worried, too angry, too discouraged to worship. If you’re looking for passion in your worship—start with commitment.
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5. Be Willing
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Jesus said, in Matthew 26:41. Of course you’re willing to worship...we all are. Otherwise, what’s the point of being a Christian? Fire insurance? We praise and worship the Lord because we love Him and because He loved us first. But don’t stop there. Be willing in all of it. This is where it gets hard.
We say we are willing, but then we hesitate or draw a line with God for what we will or will not do in worship. Be willing to offer Him a fresh sacrifice, to step outside your comfort zone and to tune in to the Holy Spirit.
Be willing to ask what He wants from you in worship. And be willing to do it as your sacrifice. If you ask the Holy Spirit how He wants you to worship Him, He will inspire your spirit with the answer.
Did you ever stop to realize that He might like to see something different from you? Would your spouse feel loved and appreciated if all you ever did was high-five them? Or would your kids feel complete if all you did was pat their head? One day it may be a sacrifice just to sing. On another day, maybe the Lord prompts you to speak...shout...kneel...or dance!
He will always challenge you because it will change you. Are you willing?
Satan wants to change you by throwing challenges at you. But if you can discipline yourself to see worship through the eyes of faith, you’ll come to learn that praise and worship are not about how you feel. It can’t be! That’s what Satan wants!
Sing spiritual words. Do spiritual actions. Live a life of spiritual growth. Now…stop, drop, and worship!
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