This question came in asking about music in Charismatic churches. Here’s my reply.
I received your email with the questions you had sent. I’ll go ahead and answer each one of them under the captions below. You said you are not comfortable with and are having a hard time in adjusting to the more intense levels of praise and worship that you are seeing in the non-denominational charismatic churches, especially with you coming from a Catholic background.
I know quite a few ex-Catholics who now belong to charismatic, non-denominational churches who had a hard time initially adjusting to the intense levels in the way charismatics worship and praise.
Many newcomers have a real hard time when they first walk into a Spirit-filled charismatic type church – it is a major shock to their spiritual senses. You are not alone in your feelings on this issue!
The first thing you need to realize is that you should never, ever compare your level of spiritual development in the Lord with anyone else’s level of spiritual development.
One of the things I feel I have picked up from the Lord is that everyone is operating at different levels of spiritual development with Him – and everyone advances, in their own spiritual walk with the Lord, at different rates of speed.
You should never compare where you are currently at with the Lord with anyone else, including all of the people you see at your church.
When you first enter into a real walk with the Lord, the first thing He is going to do is to start working with you at the level that you are currently operating at with Him.
He will not expect you to be operating at some of the higher levels you may see with some of these people who have been walking with Him for 30 years.
The Bible says that God is the Potter and we are the clay. It is God’s job to mold, shape, and transform us into the express image of His Son Jesus Christ over the course of our lives.
This transformation process does not occur overnight. It is a very gradual and slow process that will literally take place over the entire course of your life.
God actually does this through the Holy Spirit who lives on the inside of you. Another word for this transforming process is sanctification. God is in the business of making us into a better and more holy people.
If you are not comfortable at your current level of spiritual development with the Lord to raise your hands and sing as intensely as what you are seeing in this church, then I would not worry about it at this time!
You are 100% correct when you say that you are not comfortable with singing and raising your hands just to be like everyone else. You have to be true to yourself and be true to the Lord.
God perfectly knows where you are at in your own level of spiritual development with Him. If this type of worship and praise is not coming naturally to you at this time, and you are not comfortable in expressing yourself like this in a public setting, then I would let it go at this time and not do it until you are more comfortable in giving it a try.
God will have no problems with you on this issue because you are just being honest with both yourself and with Him.
He knows that you are not currently at this level to be able to do this with Him at this time. I actually believe that God would more approve of you not doing it because you are really being honest with Him and true to yourself as versus trying to do it just to be like everyone else.
The Bible says that God always looks on the heart of a person. He knows you better than you can ever know yourself.
He perfectly knows why you do what you do and what your true motives are. If you try to worship and praise Him just to try and be like some of the others and it is not really coming from your heart – God will see right through it – and I believe you are better off not doing it until you feel you are ready to make this kind of leap with Him.
Also, do not get on a guilt trip because this is not coming to you naturally at this time. The Bible says that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
If anyone else looks at you funny because you are not following the crowd, then they are wrong and they are operating under very judgmental and critical spirits which the Lord detests.
Do not worry about what anyone else may say or think about you for not being able to do this at this time. God is the only One that you have to please.
The fact that you are expressing yourself so honestly in not being comfortable with this at this time shows that you are being completely honest with both yourself and with God. Trust me – this really pleases God when you take this kind of honest approach with Him!
What God is looking for at this time is that you keep walking with Him and allow Him to start to gradually build you up in Him and all of His ways. God will start to build up your knowledge base in Him if you are open to receiving it from Him.
The two main things God wants from you at this time is that you continue to walk with Him and draw closer to Him in your own personal relationship that you have established with Him – and to increase your knowledge levels about Him and all of His ways by reading the Bible.
My initial impression from the way you had worded your email is that you are seeking after Him and this is what He wants from you more than anything else.
The Holy Spirit
The second thing you need to realize when you watch many of these people worship and praise as intensely as they are, is that this ability to really do this comes from the Holy Spirit. The Bible talks about us being able to worship, sing and praise God “in the Spirit.”
The word “Spirit” is with a capital “S,” which means it is referring to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives you the supernatural ability to really worship God the Father in the way that you are seeing many of these people do. T
hese people are in the Spirit when they are singing and raising their hands. The reason that you are not comfortable in being able to worship and praise like these people are doing is because this ability has not been imparted to you at this time by the Holy Spirit.
However, if you continue on in your walk with the Lord, the time will come where the Holy Spirit will start to move on you in a church setting and give you the ability, the courage, and the desire to worship God in this manner. You will know it when it comes in on you.
But until that ability comes to you from the Holy Spirit, just be yourself in the church setting, and just do what comes naturally to you and what you are comfortable with in doing. This is all God is looking for at this time.
God is not comparing you with anyone else in this church. He is looking at you as an unique, special individual – and He will be judging you with the way you are operating in your current level of spiritual development with Him.
Comparing Yourself With Others
The second thing you mention in your email is that everyone appears to be so good, and that you feel like such a sinner compared to how good and holy some of these other people look like.
As I have stated above, you should not be comparing yourself with any of these other people. First of all, you have no idea how holy or how good some of these people really are. You cannot always judge a book by its cover – by what you see on the outside.
The other thing to realize is that you are going to run across some people who really are holy and good. These people will be Spirit-filled to the point you can literally see almost a glow or radiance coming out of their face and countenance.
You can sense that these people are really close to God and have quite a bit of knowledge about Him and the Bible. They are advanced in their walk with the Lord.
When you first get around these types of people, you may feel a bit intimidated and that you may not be good enough to be around them. You can feel and sense they are much more developed in the Lord than you are.
Amy, when you run across these types of true saints, you should never feel intimidated or any less better than they are.
The Bible tells us that God is no respecter of persons, which means that He loves each and everyone of us equally and unconditionally – which also includes you!
These people have paid their dues. They have walked with the Lord for years and have developed very close personal relationships with Him. You can feel the anointing all of over these people.
You have to realize that your level of spiritual development is not going to be the same as everyone else’s. Some people will be more advanced in their personal relationship with God and in their knowledge of Him and all of His ways than what you may be in your present level of development with Him.
Just realize that you could probably put everyone on a scale of 1-10 in their spiritual development with the Lord. Where you are at on the scale is irrelevant.
What matters is that you are in the game trying to be the best person in the Lord that you can be, and that you play the game as best and as hard as you can at the level that you are currently operating at with Him.
It is God’s job to raise you up on this scale as you progress in your walk and personal relationship with Him.
And whatever you do, do not ever question your own personal salvation with the Lord.
If you already know that you are saved, that you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then nothing can ever take that away from you, no matter how inferior or how unworthy you may feel at times – especially when you start comparing yourself with other Spirit-filled saints.
The Bible tells us that once we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit.
This means it is a done deal – for all of eternity! Your salvation does not waver like your emotions and feelings will do. Just because you may not feel saved if you are having a bad day does not mean you have lost your salvation. If it did, then none of us would ever make it into heaven.
Rest assured your personal salvation in the Lord is a done deal! You have been sealed by God’s Holy Spirit and nothing, and I mean nothing on this earth can ever take that away from you!
So do not ever let your feelings of inferiority in how far others may be more spiritually advanced in their walk with the Lord than you are ever cause you to question your own personal salvation in Him.
Amy, I hope all of the above answers all of your specific questions. If you have any further questions on any of the above issues, please feel free to email them over and we will hash it out until you get all of these things settled in your own mind.
In the meantime, we do have another article in the Sanctification Section of our site that goes deeper into being able to worship the Lord in the Spirit. The title of this article is “Worshiping the Lord.”
In this article, I give you some of the main verses from the Bible that will back up the intense way you are seeing some of these people worship the Lord.
It would be my recommendation that you read this article, as it will give you a much better understanding of what you are seeing in some of these non-denominational type churches.