Relationship with Christ

Is Worship With Others An Idol?

I think it is beautiful when we can come together in His name as a body. When we worship with many people, and especially when we feel the Spirit among us. But something that is meant to be encouraging and special can easily become an idol.

It can become deceiving. Hear me out.

It is REALLY easy to get caught up in emotions. And emotions…fade. Yet, we live our lives based often on what we feel. 

I took a class on Social Psychology when I was in college. There is a term called “emotional transference.” To best explain it, think of a high-intensity action movie. The handsome man and the pretty woman have come out alive and within the day they spent together dodging bullets and secret agents, they now are in love with each other.

The truth is, they both experienced high emotions because of the situation they were in. These high emotions get confused for feelings of love. (Be aware, this is how someone can manipulate you with emotions.) 

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Many (not all) churches try to draw people in with entertainment. People have fun. People have experiences and they think this is what it means to have a relationship with God.

A relationship based on happiness and connection.

Then they go home in silence and are confused. Why is God not answering, like He appeared to answer in the church service? Where is that same connection? The connection people feel is the connection with the community, and that gets confused a lot of the time in the church. Not saying we can’t feel God among the congregation, we absolutely can! But this does need to be acknowledged.

I’ve shared before how there have been times I felt disconnected to God purely because of feeling like He wasn’t responding to me.

Post | Feeling Disconnected From God

This quote is part of that post, “God remains God. He does not change. Therefore, if there is a disconnect, something is going on with us.” 

It’s easy to rely on good feelings and confuse that for being connected to Christ. Then when we feel bad, He “feels” distant. 

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We don’t feel the worship while everyone else around us does. Clearly, we must have an issue. Which, we very well might because true worship comes in many ways. It is not only when we are surrounded by many voices that sing and cry out to God.

It can be one voice, ours, in the presence of the Lord, in darkness, in silence, with music, or with words. In a quiet room with no one else present.

(NIV) Matthew 6:06, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Are we making time to worship Him in secret (when no one else knows)? Are we having moments of worship, praise, and acknowledgment of Him outside of a building’s walls where a congregation gathers?

And are those moments with Him more intimate and special than being among others?

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It is crucial we have more moments with Christ alone than being surrounded by others. The congregation, the body of Christ is important to be around. But we MUST put HIM FIRST in our daily life! We cannot stick our time with Christ only when we are with others.

Can we only worship the Lord when we are surrounded? 

I fear when we feel we can only experience the Lord a particular way that is because we have made that routine, method, or experience an idol. Or we have placed this experience as a high priority which could easily become an idol and we won’t know it.

All I really want is for us to be aware and to think about what we do in relation to Christ. Are we worshipping Him to give Him glory or are we worshipping Him because of the feelings and the experience (flesh)?

This isn’t to say we can’t have wonderful moments from these experiences, but I hope we aren’t seeking a “high” so to speak based on pure emotion.


Comment Below:
Have you ever got caught up in worship and realized you weren’t focused on Christ?

he is with us in all seasons

Monthly Scripture- (NLT) 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

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20 thoughts on “Is Worship With Others An Idol?

  1. I pray you’re not getting bothered by my commenting on most of your messages, but when the Lord speaks to me and particularly confirms something, I just can’t help myself…

    I grew up singing in the church, leading worship and in the older church, devotion service. Well, about 8 years ago, the Lord brought all of that to a halt, saying no more singing. At first I didn’t know how to take that, and I didn’t know how that would look. At this moment the Lord began teaching me about “emotional transference.” Thanks for defining what He taught me! He said to me that even though you lead worship from a pure place, it can take people on an emotional journey, but NOT necessarily a spiritual one, where they really encounter and embrace Me. I was blown away, but I saw it…

    The Lord then said four words to me…”When the music stops” He said, look around and tell me what you see when the music stops. What happens after the benediction? He said, I saw the worship during service, but where’s the residue thereof in everyday life and living?

    True worship isn’t predicated on music…
    True worship saturates every facet of our lives…

    I remember times before this encounter with the Lord where I would sing my heart out, but as soon as I left church, I would intentionally engage in sinful activities. BUT GOD! I thank God for this perspective now, because it helps me see what He’s taught me and how He now leads me. This message resonates with me, because I’ve been at every stage and place in it…So I agree Sis! Lord, deal with our hearts and open our eyes! In Jesus name! Thanks for this!

    Full Circle#

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No, worries! I am not bothered by comments or messages. We are a community. I love using music as a way to draw closer to Him, especially when it is just me and Him. We know how music was used in the Old Testament and David dancing with all his might. But yes! People can easily get caught up in the wrong things. If our heart is not in it for God, it will not matter to Him because He knows the truth! So glad this spoke to you. Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  2. I cannot agree more! Last week Wednesday I was sharing with the youths in church how I used to lead worship and people will say they felt the Holy Spirit love. But I was living in sin. I mean terribly. I’m not saying Holy Spirit can’t work through whoever she wants to work through. But as someone who have spent all her life in church and majority of my life in the worship team, I can definitely say majority of what we feel in church is emotions and not God! The reasons are exactly what you explained. It’s like playing lullabied for babies for them to sleep. It’s sorting. The musical instruments adds to it all. Again neither of these are bad. But we are in a phase where so much emphasis is placed on the external with very minimal being placed on the internal. Can I worship without the music on? Can I worship without someone hearing me up? Can I worship without musical instruments playing? Can I really? These are questions we all should ask ourselves. And if the answer is no, then sure that is an idol right there. This doesn’t just go for worship alone. It can be applied to others things. I pray we don’t get carried away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First off, no worries about the typos I do the same sometimes 🙂

      Amen! Idols can come in all forms! You are right! It’s very easy for people to come out of a service and go right back to sinning. This is why I urge people to worship Him when it is only themselves and God, it really is different. I can move my hands freely. I can worship in only His eyes. Music is powerful and I love the “feeling” but so crucial we do not get caught up in it.

      There have been some songs, especially Christian Rock, that have inspired some deep prayers to come out. I have shared some of my prayer songs. I pray through the music, and it is powerful. There was one line, I’ll never forget. I was following the music, and I started praying, “It hurts, but I know, You will get me through it all.” And it still rangs too (I shared this prayer song as well so maybe that’s why I haven’t forgotten the line.) Every time I hear the song I think of the line and remember. 🙂

      Worship is so much deeper than many realize. I’m reading A.Z. Tozer’s Pursuit of God with a group of sisters and we were reading how he was mentioning the church service has now been turned into a “program” a word once used for plays. How true and sad it is. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed! True lyrics of songs can minister to us in a deep way and God can reveal Himself to us through them. However it becomes a problem when we cannot pray or get intimate with God without an aid so to speak.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Amen! A good balance is needed. Talk to Him without anything. Talk to Him with some music, or through listening to a sermon, or reading scripture. Worship Him in silence, giving time for the Holy Spirit to intercede in simple silence (not that He won’t on His own, of course, but I think acknowledging that, and giving silence to God, while listening, is so important).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great topic. We have turned worship into an emotional experience that for many feeds their own feelings and meets their own felt needs. Your discussion of emotional transference is very appropriate to this issue. Few people can separate the feelings they experience singing songs they like with a bunch of people they know from what it is to truly express the worth and significance of our God. This is part of a larger issue, namely, that what we do in our typical church settings is mostly about serving us and making us feel better, and not about serving our God, obeying Him, loving Him above all other loves, and expressing His great worth and significance. Thank you for bringing this up. Kudos, and of course, blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am working on a post to go with this on what exactly worship is, and I was reminded of A. W. Tozer because he stated how people have made worship into a service we call a program. This was written in the 1940s and how true it is today! It is very true in many churches it has become about entertainment and works. Praise God that He is alive and His Spirit is moving congregations to go to Him even when the majority are not. Loved all of the points you made! God be with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Idols do come in all forms, and this is spot on. There has also been a time in my life, like the other two mentioned, that worship was just that – a feel good in the moment, a check in the box. A feeling was all it was. I, too, was engaging in sin right when it was over – I mean I had all week, ‘alone’. When I met my husband, well, not till we were very pregnant is when we began to search for truth and I am not sure if I have shared my experience with you yet or not, but we are church of Christ, non-denominational. Basically, we sing making a melody in our heart, not with instruments. (Eph 5:19) We take communion, as commanded, on the first day of each week (Acts 2:42 & 1 For 11:23-29), and believe baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Anyway, I am not here to start anything but a gentle and loving conversation regarding my experience with what you posted about. I have even prayed before replying. Honestly, for two reasons. One, for some reason there are those who have a misguided perception about Church of Christ and I am not sure why. I came from a pentecostal and baptist background so if this change was radical for anyone – it was for me. But it was studied, prayed through and scriptural truth so it wasn’t any longer about me but about Him. and 2. I have held back my responses on your church posts because it breaks my heart that you have had a bad experience and I felt in some of your posting that it has hardened your heart towards being open to trying again… maybe even possibly causing some misinterpretations on the scripture. Please do not take this as an attack. I learn so much through your blogging – even those and how to be a good friend to those I am in church with :)! I know that you are not against church. I know you know the scripture on not forsaking the assembly, and that the body is the people, not the building. I realize that you are being used here as His vessel. Praise God.

    Back to the point, You are right about church becoming an idol, or the misuse of ‘feeling good’. I don’t understand how there are churches that only meet 1x week. ‘I’ need more than that. Blogging is a wonderful community but it is nothing like having physical brothers and sisters in Christ, true friends that I can connect with on a Godly level. But most of all, it is about strengthening my relationship with Christ. Not what he can do for me but I can do to serve Him. Serving in the church is scriptural. Eldership. Worship. Ministry. etc. I didn’t have that in the other church I grew up in. Part of it was a choice, yes. So maybe I am absolutely blessed beyond measure with this amazing church and church family that gives me the total opposite experience than yours and I am sorry you didn’t have that, but if I didn’t have my church and be a part of that body of Christ – I would not be able to get through some of the hard times in life and remain a faithful Christian.

    T.R., I know that you were not looking for a book here but it has been really heavy on my heart and I had to take the time to reply to you and let you know. Thank you so much for your love and passion to spread God’s love and His message and for your heart pricking, bold blog posts! Seriously, thank you. I hope that you read this as if from a true Christian sister in Christ and I pray that you find a wonderful church family to call yours soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ❤ ❤ ❤ (I'm leaving my full response cause this is my blog and I'm all for this 🙂 and for God's glory , so any onlookers, if you don't want a book, feel free to move on.)

      First off, can I say how thankful I am for you to care so much about me, and I am so grateful you came to God before coming to me about this. I think He definitely helped you word things in a way that I'm not misinterpreting 🙂

      Second, I am writing tomorrow's post, and girl, I am writing xD on 5 Things Most Christian Bloggers experience, and the part I finished is opposing/challenging/uncomfortable comments! Although, this comment isn't challenging or opposiing to me. I view it as a sister who is concerned.

      I am not opposed to doctrines or particular churches as long as it is focused on Christ's salvation and God's word, not legalism and pushing people to save themselves. Plus, this clearly is not what your main point of your comment is anyway 🙂 We could always discuss those kind of topics further in an email or another place you would like chat.

      I am beyond grateful you care a lot about my church experience. I mainly shared that because I wanted people to know they aren't alone. I grew up in a church I love, and they are still my home church. The toxic church experience happened once I was married and moved out of state. Which I shared at the end of the (5?) part series God gave me another church family, and I had a physical church I attended because of them. They were an immense blessing to me while I lived in Little Rock.

      When we moved to Florida every single church I thought about checking out, two out of three, God was like NOPE! The first church, the day I went up to check the hours, they moved location with no notice. The second church the pastor was charged with some things. This was 2016-2017.

      2017-2018 we left Florida, mid summer got an apartment, and then I struggled a lot with aniexty about bills in 2018 as I shared in other posts. 2018 was when the blogging community was not what it was for me like the early summer in 2017. I feel God used it for what He wanted it to be for me. Now, He wanted me to go deeper.

      In the summer of 2018, God put on my heart to start praying for peers, sisters in Christ I could connect to deeply. I reached out to a blogger I know and God was all over that friendship. We started Skyping weekly and we have Bible Study every Wednesday. We also are covering different books, right now we are going through The Screwtape Letters. Through her, a few months ago, I met another fellow sister in Christ, and all three of us talk and we are currently going through A. W. Tozer's Pursuit of God. We are scattered in different parts of America, so I don't have that in person connection, but it certainly is a more physical bond right now than ever. It has been blessing.

      And I still have my home church when I visit, and I connect to a few women from my home church on Facebook as well. I know it is not exactly the same as you are stating 🙂 but especially with my sisters in Christ, I have a church body now. We can be accountable to each other in ways obviously the blogging community can't really be for me. I'm grateful for where God leads me. I thought about another Bible Study group in person but I have some bad feelings about it (like being careful, that kind of thing). So right now, I am following where He is leading me.

      Now, I can say, I don't have a bitterness, praise the Lord, toward church. In that series of posts, God helped me cover that. But it is certainly possible I get guarded talking about it because so many people misunderstand what I am saying in the posts, which is why I try to constantly say the same things over and over in those posts, because of others' misconceptions of what I mean. And of course because of lack of tone, and because of the topic of those posts I think people sometimes make assumptions about me that are not true, which is why I try to clarify everything best as I can. 🙂

      This post in particular, actually had nothing to do with the church when I wrote it. That wasn't the intention for this to be one of those church posts. Rather, encourage people to go to to Christ more often not only in church but when they are alone. To be aware of what their heart is for Christ and if somethings have come idols.

      I have a post I finished today about worship in full detail too 🙂 I learned a lot and I hope it blesses others.

      Again, thank you so much for caring ❤ I hope you didn't experience any anxiety in waiting for my response. I know what that's like 😉

      Like

  5. I truly feel like I am talking to a friend when you and I ‘talk’ through blog posts. You have a way with your words and that is a talent! I was waiting for a response but I was not too nervous, but thank you for the recognizing that it was out of love and I am glad it was to misinterpreted. I am so thankful most of all that God was able to work through any bitterness. Some of them I felt there was some in the series but again, you have a way with words and I knew that it was to share your experience so others wouldn’t feel alone. That is one thing I love about the blogging world. Even before I blogged – I was constantly searching topics that related to me but that I didn’t want to talk to others about just yet… and that was because I wanted to be reassured that I was not the only one! lol!

    I am also glad that you were able to turn toward Him during those hard transition years – what an experience and one to which I have not dealt with and if I were to ever, I have no idea what I would actually do in terms of going to church and exhaustingly, disappointedly, keep trying. You stayed connected in your relationship with Him and even still, making the connections for that sisterhood in fellowship. Praise God. One day, He will open a door for the right place at the right time. I pray so.

    I absolutely wasn’t trying to make any assumptions (not that I think you think I was) but I know that feeling too when writing blogs. Sorry I may have took this post to share with you when it wasn’t the intent of the post, though it was the opportunity that gave me the time to finally do so. Plus, I really, truly, do relate to the post.

    I cannot wait to see your new posts! I love to be excited about sharing something God has led me to share with others and shine that light and hope. ❤

    Well ironically, It's Wednesday and we are headed out the door for church 😉 Talk to you later! Love ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m grateful for the doors He has already opened ❤ truly. I've talked to some people who attend a church and they have told me that I have a dependable body of Christ I can turn to, worship Him with, pray to Him with, more so than many do in their own churches.
      It helps me be grateful for every single thing He has given me. To not take for granted the doors He's shut, and the ones He's opened. The people He's blessed me with. You're one of them. 🙂

      If the Lord directs me to the doors of a church building that is close to where I live, I know wholeheartedly He will absolutely provide it 🙂

      Now it is about branching out and growing from where God has planted me and what He has given already. I'm so grateful to see what He will do and how He will lead.

      This is why I try so hard to push people to go to Him behind closed doors. So many people are fascinated with my relationship with Him, "You mean you grew with Him outside of a church?" I respond yes. "Well, so many people do not."

      Nods, that's because they don't have a proper relationship with Him. That's why I want people to seek Him first above anything else. ❤ ❤ ❤ and sadly that gets confused xD a lot of the time.

      No, I didn't think you were making assumptions about me 🙂 But thought I would add for "clarity's" sake 🙂

      I can see how some posts can be worded a particular way, for sure. I'm not perfect, and yes, xD my emotions do slip through. Praise the Lord, last year especially He was helping me with this. Which is why I am thankful as I grow in Him, He helps me work on wording and being gentle. To be willing to admit when I am wrong, even if it takes time, I praise Him for pricking my spirit. ❤

      I have a Bible Study later too 🙂 God be with you!!!!

      Like

      1. I am thankful for those doors for you as well. ❤ You are so humble and transparent that no wonder your relationship in noticed.
        James and Ecclesiastes are my two favorite books of the Bible… honestly because it pricks my heart so I, too, praise God for those teachable moments and that I am receptive to them so that I can grow and help others grow. That's what it's all about. I see that with you, too.
        Have a good night!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Truth!!! I know you were recently talking about worshipping Him and I had read that after I already wrote this post. I wanted to share 🙂 Today God helped me feel like I needed to really look at what worship is. I have that post written and ready for next week 🙂 It is so much!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this! It is so true we can get caught up in the crowd of emotions. I went to a Garthe Brooks concert and felt the hype, the emotions, the joy. Just as many say they feel in worship in church. But, here at home alone singing alone with my headsets on. I focused on God and felt His presence that brought tears to my eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

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