By Simone Gregor –
Arms stretched heavenwards, eyes upturned. The atmosphere was reverent. I looked at everyone in their worshipful stances and wondered. I wondered why I felt so far away from what they seemed to be feeling. I wondered why I didn’t have the urge to stretch up my hands and worship. Or even why my heart did not feel compelled to worship with genuine abandon.
Years later, when I think back to that day – which was my first worship gathering as a newly-saved university student, the reason for those thoughts has become clear to me. Although I knew at that time that God is good, and that He had saved me, this was mostly head knowledge. This profound truth had yet to permeate my heart. A few years on, it has become apparent that the more I come to know of the Jesus who won my heart, the more my heart has a desire to worship Him for who He is.
Let me explain. My initial understanding of Christianity was rather limited. It was something of a if-I-do-this, then surely God-will-do-that, thing. Follow steps x, y and z, and God will deliver the goods. Transactional, not relational, and completely missing the fact that I got to call the maker of Heaven and Earth my Father and Friend. Father and Friend – not Landlord, not business partner.
Slowly, my heart started waking up to the fact that we’re called to so much more than a narrow-minded ‘religion’ where a cold unfeeling God dictates hard-to-follow orders from above. God is an intensely personal God, and if you’ll allow Him in, He won’t leave your heart unchanged. (Ezekiel 36:26) He’s after redemption, healing and restoration – of the one, and the many.
Things look different from a gospel vantage point: they’re bound to, when you consider that a blameless sacrifice, Jesus, secured us freedom from sin and gave us eternal life. There’s no way that equation makes sense in worldly terms. Grace heavily outweighs our efforts. It’s not about what you can do, but rather what He can do through you. It’s not about being right and proving your point, but rather walking humbly alongside others and letting His love shine through the cracks of your humanness. (Colossians 3:12-14)
This realisation was the most freeing thing. He doesn’t rely on us for our efforts or our perfection. We get to be real, raw and honest with Him – and this gives Him the glory. (2 Corinthians 12:9) The unconventional equation of grace has overwhelmed my heart and won it over to worship.
I am convinced.
Picture by Paballo Thekiso