Don’t Settle for Praise
by Dwayne Moore
I don’t normally publish my personal quiet time posts on this blog. I usually only publish them on my journaling blog. However, today’s quiet time was such a powerful teaching moment for me as a worship leader that I wanted to share it with our NLW readers. Enjoy!
Text: John 3:1-3
Theme: Head knowledge is not enough; our hearts must be changed.
Key verses: “After dark one evening, he (Nicodemus) came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know God has sent you to teach us your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.'”
What (I believe) God said to me: Dwayne, good Saturday morning. I have granted you another day to live, breath, love your family and share my love with others. Let your light so shine before people today, that they may see your good works and glorify me. These opening verses of John 3 reveal a profound and important truth. Jesus was never impressed with people’s knowledge or their outward praise of him. He didn’t take to flattery or patronizing. As sincere as Nicodemus may have been, Jesus wasted no time getting from Nicodemus’ head to his heart. Jesus went on to engage him intellectually. He took time to give him a simple and profound analogy about the wind and to answer Nic’s questions. But make no mistake, everything Jesus said to Nicodemus was for the purpose of changing what really mattered–his heart. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, but people are only truly found and saved when they become born again. Anything short of that is cold, carnal intellectualism. Dwayne, when you lead others in praise, your goal should always be that they are led to truly worship me. Praise can be done with the head alone. Anyone can cognitively choose to lift a hand or outwardly sing along on a song. However, only those whose hearts have been changed–only those who have been born again of the Spirit–can truly engage their new hearts and worship me inwardly. You can’t make people worship. You may be able to coerce them to praise me, but only the Holy Spirit can lead them to worship me. That’s why you and your team must always pray for those you lead. Don’t be impatient with them, and never try to manipulate the congregation to worship. Let me flow through you as you worship me. In time, I will use you to inspire and influence true worship–from hearts and lives made new by my power.
What I said to God: Wow Lord, I sensed there was something in this passage I’d never seen before. That’s why I’ve soaked on this passage the past few days. Thank You for revealing to me this truth about true worship. Thank You for challenging me not to settle for outward praise only but to pray for our congregation and our team that they experience true, heart-felt worship. Increase my burden for those we sing to each week who are not Christians, who have not been born again. Help me never settle for head knowledge and emotional experiences only. May our church and those we lead come to know You and love You with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength.
From Dwayne’s Quiet Time Journal at QuietTimeJournal.PraiseMorePowerful.com