How are we not changed?
That’s the question that won’t leave me alone today. How do we explain how the worship leaders are not being changed by the worship?
We have the wonderful privilege of leading people into the powerful presence of the Almighty God. We sing of God’s unfailing love, of His endless mercy, of His limitless power, of His amazing grace, and of the deliverance that comes from His presence. How do we not find ourselves changed in the midst of all of that? How do people in the congregation encounter God in such a real way and have their lives forever changed and the worship leader leave the service still bound by the same habits, still engaging in the same unGodly practices, still embracing the same unholy lifestyles and showing no sign of conviction?
And then I remember my own experience. I remember many years ago when I led worship with a hangover from partying the night before. I remember the presence of God coming into the service in a powerful way. I was surprised. I thought that God wouldn’t show up because I really didn’t feel worthy to be used and shouldn’t have had a microphone in my hand. But God doesn’t disappoint His people even when He is disappointed by the people He charged with leading His people into His presence. He still shows up. But in that service I felt so strange – because I could tell that God was in the room and He was responding to the sound of worship in the building but I couldn’t feel Him. I saw Him moving but I wasn’t being touched by it. And I began to cry. I missed His presence and wanted to feel Him. But I couldn’t.
That experience was enough for me to get my life together and live a Godly life. I never want to be in a room with God but be unable to be affected by His presence.
Romans 11:29 teaches us that “God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone.” (GWT) The gift is irrevocable. But it belongs to God. He can use the gift He put in us whenever He chooses. Just like He can use a roster to crow…just like he can make a donkey be stubborn and talk, He can use us whenever He chooses. But just because the rooster crowed a sermon of repentance to Peter (Luke 22) and just because the donkey spoke to Balaam and kept him from being destroyed by an angel (Numbers 22)…it doesn’t mean that the rooster or the donkey had lives that pleased God.
Likewise, the fact that God uses us doesn’t mean that He is pleased with us. We should be changed by His presence.