This article was in response to an email about someone being a little uneasy about the praise and worship in charismatic churches.
I received your email with the questions you sent. I'll go ahead and answer them under the captions below. You said you are not comfortable with and are having a hard time adjusting to the more intense levels of praise and worship that you are seeing in the non-denominational charismatic churches - especially with you coming from a Catholic background.
I know quite a few ex-Catholics who now belong to charismatic non-denominational churches who had a hard time initially adjusting to the intensity levels on the way charismatics worship and praise. A lot of newcomers have a real hard time when they first walk into a Spirit-filled charismatic type church - it is a major shock to their spiritual senses. You are not alone in your feelings on this issue!
The first thing you need to realize is that you should never compare your level of spiritual development with anyone else's. One of the things that I feel I have picked up from the Lord is that everyone is operating at different levels of spiritual development. And everyone advances, in their spiritual walk with the Lord, at different rates of speed. You should never compare where you are currently at with the Lord with anyone else - including all of the people you see at your church.
When you first enter into a real walk with the Lord, the first thing He is going to do is to start working with you at the level that you are currently operating at. He will not expect you to be operating at some of the "higher" levels you may see with some of these people who have been walking with Him for 30 years.
The Bible says that God is the Potter and we are the clay. It is God's job to mold, shape and transform us into the image of His Son Jesus over the course of this life. This transforming process does not occur overnight. It is a very gradual, slow process that will literally take place over the entire course of your life.
God actually does this through the Holy Spirit who lives on the inside of you. Another word for this transforming process is sanctification. God is in the business of making us into better and more holy people.
If you are not comfortable at your current level of spiritual development with the Lord to raise your hands and sing as intensely as what you are seeing in this church - then I would not worry about it at this time!
You are 100 percent correct when you say you are not comfortable with singing and raising your hands just to be like everyone else. You have to be true to yourself and be true to the Lord.
God perfectly knows where you are at in your own level of spiritual development. If this type of worship and praise is not coming naturally to you and you are not comfortable in expressing yourself like this in a public setting, then I would let it go at this time and not do it until you are more comfortable in giving it a try.
God will have no problems with you on this issue because you are just being honest with yourself and with Him. He knows that you are not currently at that level to be able to do this at this time. I actually believe that He would more approve of you not doing it because you are being honest with Him and true to yourself as versus trying to do it just to be like everyone else.
The Bible says that God always looks on the heart of a person. He knows you better than you can ever know yourself. He perfectly knows why you do what you do and what your motives are. If you try to worship and praise like some of the others just to be like them - and it is not really coming from your heart - God will see right through it - and I believe you are better off not doing it until you feel you are ready to make that kind of a leap.
Do not trip or get on a guilt trip because this is not coming to you naturally at this time. The Bible says that there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
If anyone else looks at you funny because you are not following the crowd - then they are wrong and they are operating under judgmental and critical spirits which the Lord detests. Don't worry about what anyone else may say or think about you for not being able to do this at this time. God is the only one that you have to please and seek approval from.
The fact that you are expressing yourself so honestly in not being comfortable with this at this time shows that you are being honest with yourself and with God. Trust me - this really pleases God when you take this kind of honest approach with Him!
What God is looking from you at this time is that you keep walking with Him and allow Him to start gradually building you up in Him and all of His ways. God will start to build up your knowledge base in Him if you are open to receiving it.
The two main things God wants from you at this time is that you:
Continue to walk with Him and draw closer to Him in your own personal relationship that you have established with Him.
And to increase your knowledge levels about Him and all of His ways by reading the Bible. My initial impression from the way you worded your email is that you are "seeking" after Him and that is what He wants from you more than anything else.
The Holy Spirit
The second thing you need to realize when you watch a lot of these people worship and praise as intensely as they are - is that this ability to really do this comes from the Holy Spirit. The Bible talks about us being able to worship, sing and praise God "in the Spirit."
The word "Spirit" is with a capital "S" which means it is referring to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives you the power and supernatural ability to really worship God the Father in the way that you are seeing a lot of these people do.
These people are "in the Spirit" when they are singing and raising their hands. The reason that you are not comfortable in being able to worship and praise like these people are doing is because this supernatural ability has not been imparted to you at this time from the Holy Spirit.
If you continue on in your walk with God, the time may come where the Holy Spirit will start to move on you in a church setting and give you the ability, the courage and the desire to worship God in this manner. You will know it when it comes on you.
But until that time comes - just be yourself in the church setting and do just what comes naturally to you and what you are comfortable with in doing. That is all God is looking from you. God is not comparing you with anyone else in that church. He is looking at you as an unique, special individual and He will be judging you at the way you operate at your own level of spiritual development.
Comparing Yourself With Others
The second thing you mention in your email is that everyone appears to be so good and that you feel like such a sinner compared to how good and holy some of these other people look like.
As I've stated above, you should not be comparing yourself with any of these other people. First of all, you have no idea how holy or how good some of these people really are. You can't always judge a book by its "cover" - by what you see on the outside.
The other thing to realize is that from time to time you are going to run across some people who really are holy and good. These people will be Spirit-filled to the point you can literally see almost a glow or radiance coming out of their face. You can sense that these people are really close to God and have a lot of knowledge about Him and the Bible. They are "advanced" in their walk with the Lord.
When you get around these types of people, you may at first feel intimidated and that you may not good enough to be around them. You can feel, you can sense that they are much more developed "in the Spirit" than you are.
Amy, when you run across these types of true saints - you should not feel intimidated or any less better than they are. The Bible tells us that "God is no respecter of persons" - that He loves everyone equally and unconditionally - and that includes you!
These people have paid their dues. They have walked with the Lord for years and have developed close relationships with Him. You can feel the anointing all of over these people.
You have to realize that your level of spiritual development is not going to be the same as everyone else's. Some people will be more "advanced" than you are in their relationship with God and in their knowledge of Him.
Just realize that you could probably put everyone on a scale of 1-10 in their spiritual development with God. Where you are on the scale is irrelevant. What matters is that you are in the game trying to be the best person in the Lord that you can be - that you play the game as best and as hard as you can at the "level" that you are operating at. It's God's job to raise you up the scale as you progress in your walk and relationship with Him.
And whatever you do - do not ever question your salvation with the Lord. If you already know that you are saved - that you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior - then nothing can take that away from you - no matter how inferior or unworthy you may feel at times - especially when you start comparing yourself with others.
The Bible tells us that once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior - then we are "sealed" with the Holy Spirit. That means it is a done deal - for eternity! Your salvation does not waver like your emotions or feelings do. Just because you may not "feel" saved if you are having a bad day does not mean you have lost your salvation. If it did, none of us would ever make it to heaven.
Rest assured - your salvation is a done deal! You have been sealed by God's Spirit and nothing, and I mean nothing on this earth can ever take that away from you!
So don't ever let your feelings of inferiority in how far others may be more spiritually advanced in their walk with the Lord than you are ever cause you to question your own personal salvation.
I hope all of the above answers all of your specific questions. If you have any further questions or things bothering you on the above issues, please feel free to email them over and we'll hash it out until you get all of these things settled in your own mind.
Article written by Michael Bradley of Bible Knowledge Ministries. Their website is a resource of Bible Knowledge, articles, commentary and teaching. They currently have over 100