Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rejoicing “with joy…inexpressible…full of glory”?

In preparing to preach through 1 Peter, Erik Raymond at Irish Calvinist observed that:

First Peter chapter one, verses six through nine are all about the experience of being a Christian, and in particular the heavenly inspired rejoicing that is to characterize this life.”

Yet, as a Reformed believer in Christ, something troubled him:

“I am simply wondering afresh why those who hold to such a God-exalting, man-humbling view of God, tend to be the more stiff, cold and unaffected. Why do so many of us love to talk about, defend, and study doctrine but then stand relatively unaffected when singing songs that reflect such glorious truth? Why do folks get more excited about defending an acronym and criticizing Arminians than they do about singing about the risen Savior?”

This is, indeed, something worth thinking about, and I would encourage you to read Erik’s entire post (and listen to his preached messages from 1 Peter 1:1-9). In commenting on Erik’s post, I wrote the following:


“I appreciate your post. Personally, I am an emotional person. Yet, not many would know that, because I’m generally very reserved in public. This fact sometimes frustrates me. I wish I felt free to lift my hands to the Lord or shout aloud His praise in worship. I would be inclined to blame my reservations on self-consciousness and fear.

“Perhaps fear is the reason many others tend to downplay or diminish emotions. Maybe, like me, we’re afraid of what others would think of us if we became emotional. Perhaps we’re afraid that we might draw attention to ourselves or make others feel uncomfortable if we physically or verbally expressed our worship to God. I’m thinking that this could be especially true if we are part of a church or fellowship where emotional and physical expressiveness in worship is frowned upon.

“Then again, maybe we are reserved in expressing our emotions toward God because, in some sense, God seems less “real” to us than, let’s say, a sports event where we wouldn’t have second thoughts about shouting and cheering and jumping. One day, when we see that heavenly scene as pictured in Revelation 4-5, I’m sure we’ll have no trouble joining the multitude around God’s throne in praising the Lamb “with a loud voice” (Rev. 5:12). But, as it is now, we don’t “see” anything that would prompt such a heartfelt and emotional response. In other words, the problem could be with our spiritual perception.

“I do think, however, that those of us who know the Doctrines of Grace have great reason to be among the most enthusiastic in our worship of God.”

Amen. May God cause us to grow more God-conscious, that we may freely rejoice in our Savior.

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