By Pastor Andy King (High Point Atlanta)
I still remember it like yesterday.
The place smelled like sweat and antiques. There were college students everywhere at this strange place called the Knowles Center. They were there for U-Church — a campus-wide service for college students that met in downtown Nashville, Tennessee — and it wasn’t like anything I had experienced before. I genuinely wanted a deeper relationship with God, but surely this room filled with crazy college students didn’t have the answer. After all, they were strange.
They were actually excited to be there. Shouldn’t they be bored? Depth of maturity and depth of boredom always seemed to go hand in hand, but that didn’t seem to be the case here.
The band started playing. People started clapping. They were singing. Loudly. They even fist pumped. My God…they fist pumped. What was wrong with these people? Where was I?
David, the writer of psalms, penned that his “soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” For some reason I was uncomfortable with the thought of being that vulnerable with the God that had saved my soul and made me new.
The worship team started singing “Trading My Sorrows.” It’s pretty much a relic in the world of worship music nowadays, but I still love it. Because God did something new and powerful in my heart as I let go and worshiped him without reservation that night.
The worship leader asked everyone to raise their hands. I’m trading my sorrows. I’m trading my shame. I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord. The war surged forward in my mind as to how much I really wanted to let go and worship. It felt like my heart was beating as loudly as the drums. It felt like I was losing control of my relationship with Jesus.
As my hands went up, the tears came down. Until that moment, I didn’t know it was possible to love Jesus but still be locked up by so many things on the inside. I wasn’t becoming a Christian. I was becoming free. Free from shame. Free from what others thought. Free from anxiety and fear. Free.
Worship is always about Jesus. It’s about giving Him glory and praising His name as the rightful King of our hearts and of this world. But that doesn’t mean nothing happens to us when we worship. True worship brings true freedom. It’s emotional. Hope-filled. Contagious. Inspiring. And freeing.
True worship brings true freedom.