I once asked a good friend, Simon Xing, who lives in China, about worship. He’s a fine worship leader, with wonderful experience to share. What follows is an edited version (for readability) of our conversation.
D: Simon – I have a question…I can use your help. How might you describe different levels of worship?
S: Thanks for your questions. Personally, I would divide it into four levels.
D: Tell me!
S: The first is surface level. Just singing.
D: Makes sense. Please go on.
S: The second is when you are infected by another person’s spirit to worship.
D: Good. Go on….
S: The third is when you can worship anytime in any place.
D: Tell me more about this.
S: Just feel like God is on your side.
(D: That sounds so simple; it’s useful and profound.)
D: Wow! Tell me more.
S: The fourth, also the deepest, for me, I think is when you are the performer standing in front of God. (D: This is what your attention is full of. Nothing else.)
D: Please go on. More!
S: And angels are your audience. They are listening, and maybe even join in.
D: Ahh…I love this!
S: This is a moment of holiness. You don’t care about anything but God. You may cry. You may dance. You may sing in tongues.
S: Nothing but holiness.
S: You will not care, in such moments, about timing. No concern or worry. Your focus is single and complete.
D: I never thought of that….
S: You just want to continue and go on – in that environment. This is just my experience.
D: Your experience in such things as this – is valuable.
S: I experienced four levels. Maybe there is a fifth. It may take time….
D: Go on…think out loud.
S: Now I don’t know…. I just hope there would be a fifth one. (D: Simon is getting ready to speak and put into words a deep intuition of his understanding, so far. Holy Spirit whispering to his spirit.)
S: Which may be that God only wants me to worship.
S: He cares about my worship most at such a moment.
D: Go on….
S: And I can feel his holy touch.
S: Not by saints, but by him.
S: (Simon spoke briefly of some Internet difficulties.) He blessed me, sent his deep love.
We said goodbye for now.
D: (This was a fascinating and lovely conversation, with thoughts from an experienced worship leader.)
Running my race. Sometimes I do well; too often I do not.
I have recently, again and again, fallen short of the Glory of God.
I am a sinner.
I have hurt others, and I have been hurt by Christians I look up to and admire. And I have used that as an excuse to sin even more.
How did all this happen, I wonder. Maybe you wonder, too. Well, it was all too easy.
A lot of it happened through social media. Through the news. And most terribly – in my own heart.
Friends I admire and look up to would send me jokes about democrats, and I would laugh – some of them were really funny. And some of these were not just funny, some were also quite nasty.
Other friends would send me descriptions of religious republicans and the twisted things some of them are encouraging, and I would agree.
Friends from different parties would send me news articles. Too often full of truths that make my heart recoil. And too often — one sided or twisted versions of events. And I would agree for a while, before I saw more broadly and inclusively.
Friends with high ideals and good reasons sending me twisted, one sided, soul shrinking propaganda. And I would read and agree for a while. Until….
Everybody has good reasons. Too often amplified beyond reason – the kind of thing that gives opportunity to unclean spirits. Too often twisted, to make a point. Too often so one-sided as to be sinful in themselves, yet very convincing.
And here I am, a well meaning feckless chameleon; first agreeing with this and seeing it clearly. Then agreeing with that, and seeing that clearly. Boy, talk about being double-minded. I’m an expert. A friend tells me the Greek literally means two-minded, a person with two minds – actually two souls.
I have lost all sense of proportion and of the larger picture: I am bound by love, previous repentance, and duty to a King and Kingdom that is at hand: Immanuel and his Kingdom. How often do I forget the Good News of the Kingdom? Too often.
I get caught up being for this or for that; or against this and against that. As though these were my first allegiance. I forget Whose I am.
I have sinned. Repeatedly. Forgetting Whose I am, forgetting the Kingdom and Immanuel. My first allegiance. I am ashamed.
So I again repent and ask for more of Holy Spirit. For help to live not for what I eat or drink but for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Putting the Kingdom first.
Lord, help me be a beneficial influence in the culture that surrounds me, influence, share and spread the Kingdom of God. And to do this first, before and more strongly and with more skill, love and determination – than any good thing I do in well intentioned and wordly politics. Help me follow Holy Spirit so well and so much that I am full of Fruit of the Spirit. Love, self-control, kindness, patience…and control my tongue.
The Untamable Tongue
3 My brethren, (A)let not many of you become teachers, (B)knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For (C)we all stumble in many things. (D)If anyone does not stumble in word, (E)he is a[a]perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 [b]Indeed, (F)we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.5 Even so (G)the tongue is a little member and (H)boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And (I)the tongue is a fire, a world of [c]iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it (J)defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of [d]nature; and it is set on fire by [e]hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, (K)full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made (L)in the [f]similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a (M)fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? [g]Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Heavenly Verses Demonic Wisdom
13 (N)Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have (O)bitter envy and [h]self-seeking in your hearts, (P)do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 (Q)This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For (R)where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But (S)the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, (T)without partiality (U)and without hypocrisy. 18 (V)Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Hope is the anchor you hold on to. It’s not just God’s Glory in heaven – as wonderful a hope to hold on to as this is.
It’s in you. Now! Christ in you, your hope of Glory.
Strong’s Concordance — doxa: opinion (always good in N.T.), hence praise, honor, glory Original Word: δόξα, ης, ἡ Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: doxa Phonetic Spelling: (dox’-ah) Definition: opinion (always good in NT), praise, honor, glory Usage: honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor. (https://biblehub.com/greek/1391.htm) (Emphasis is mine.)
“The unspoken manifestation of God, splendor“
Wow. That’s the Glory of Jesus. Jesus is in you. There is Glory in you.
Now let’s experience this somewhat differently, adding richness to your experience.
Your joy is already present. Has been. Is always here. If you look deeply with silent attention, you can notice and experience this more consciously. More on purpose.
Your joy is already present, is in you, for you to attend to, notice and… dare I say it? Enjoy!
Hiding in plain sight, it was. Already available to you.
So…what to do now? Attend to your joy deeply and with silent attention. Rejoice! Yes, that’s it. Rejoice!
You have found your joy. It’s always in you, always with you. Attend silently and deeply. Notice….
There is more to the Glory &Presenceof Jesus than we know. Here’s a view that will help understand and experience more of the Glory and Presence of God.
I saw this better while in my study and Father showed me and put together for me experiences and memories so I can see them in a more fresh and complete way.
Holy Spirit will gladly help you experience this for yourself because the more you understand the Glory & Presence of God, the more you are seeing Jesus. Who is the exact representation of our Father. So:
Ask for more of Holy Spirit and receive by faith. Be being more full of Holy Spirit.
Ask Holy Spirit to show you the existence of this so you may experience the truth of this for yourself.
The key idea that you want to understand and be very clear about is this: every good quality, aspect or characteristic of Jesus that you can discover in Scripture or from inspiration through Holy Spirit, and every experience of Jesus where you understand his very Nature better — is part of his Glory & his Presence.
What are some qualities of God? What is his nature? Just to name a few, God is:
Love, Loving, Merciful, Kindness
I Am, Being, Existence
Small Still Voice – our Lord is Still and Quiet; speaks to our spirit.
Merciful and loving; in Hebrew you might say: Hesed.
Harmlessness – he has complete power to harm and chooses not to. A variation of Love and Mercy.
Savior, Rescuer, Redeemer
Trust, Trustworthy, Trustworthiness
Perfect, Complete; Lacking Nothing
Each of these qualities points to an aspect of his Nature. Who he is, how he is: glimpses of how you can seek to experience Jesus.
Each of these qualities is worth your personal exploration; just ask Holy Spirit for help. Meditate. Contemplate. (And be sure to learn what these mean.)
Each of these qualities, when experienced deeply over time, will transform you. You, gazing on him, will be gradually coming to be more and more like him.
If you take on and express and are being such qualities, you are growing more and more into the likeness of God. You are expressing with Holy Spirit such good Fruit that you and those around you are more safe. You are expressing more and more of Jesus. What could be better for you?
You can pray with Holy Spirit to extend such qualities that are part of the Glory and Presence of God to other people and places (intercession that does not rely primarily on your words). Please do so!
A thing of huge value is to notice, learn, value and act on — is what helps you hear God better. And in helping you experience better his holy Presence. Who or what helps you better experience his Glory.
A close friend of mine does best with worship with music and dance. The more she worships, especially with music and dance – the better she is able to appreciate the Glory & Presence of God; and what God says to her.
I, on the other hand, prefer to worship in silence and awe. The more I am silent and attentive, the more Presence, and also the more Glory I experience. The more I hear from God.
Presence I notice more easily, like a lot of us, in a particular place. Just like the Presence of a person – or better yet, a Person!
I also especially do well in nature. Fields, woods, mountains, rivers, desert, it all speaks to me of God and I hear God more when in what I more easily notice as his Creation.
Music. Beauty of all kinds. Even dance!
I also love churches of all kinds. Where I can visit, enter, and spend time in prayer.
I have other friends who do exceptionally well when with other people. Especially worshiping people, or prophetically inclined people. When I am with such people, Holy Spirit just flows and flows….
Pay careful attention to and note what helps you experience more of God. You may be like me, and have several good ways that are inspiring and helpful for you.
The more ways that are good for you, the better. The more circumstances, places, & kinds of people can help you do better with experiencing God!
Utilize such places, circumstances and people – often!
You’ll be glad you did. So will God be. He’s waiting for you — now!