As born-again believers, worshiping God is part of who we are in our relationship with Him. It puts God in His proper place in our hearts. I have encountered many Christians who desire MORE in their worship. “I want to see worship go to the next level” is a typical comment. Whose responsibility is this? The worship team? The pastor? Of course, it is our own responsibility to go further and deeper in our worship. I love the word extravagant to describe this worship. Here are some definitions of extravagant:
A) Exceeding the limits of reason
B) Lacking in moderation, balance, and restraint
C) Extremely or excessively elaborate
D) Spending much more than necessary
E) Profuse, lavish
As we begin to apply these definitions to our worship, we can feel the impact almost immediately. Extravagant worship is going beyond adequate or acceptable. It is causing that ice cream cone to topple when you add the extra dip that it can’t possibly hold. It’s that 200% tip for your waitress.
But why seek this excess in our worship? Isn’t our worship good enough as it is? Yes, it is good enough. We will still go to heaven without any change in our worship. In fact, God will not love us one iota less if we make no change in our worship. No, extravagant worship is not about what we get. It IS about what God gets. But be prepared! As you enter the realm of extravagant worship, you are bound to experience significant transformation!
Extravagant worship is going above and beyond. To emphasize this, I think we should all be required to pronounce the word “extravagant” with a high pitched, English accent with a long rolling “r”. Come on, say it with me: Extrrrrrrrrravagant!
No matter how much we give God in worship, it will never be more than He deserves. Our motivation has to be our desire to give Him as much of what He deserves as we can. Our love for Him has to be what causes us to desire MORE in our worship.
We can all say that there is something we have never done before in our worship of God. I would certainly encourage all believers to try something that you’ve never done before. Clapping, jumping, dancing, shouting, crowd surfing, the list is endless. But, if our efforts end there, it may all be for naught. First, there is a common obstacle that must be removed to experience extravagant worship.
Being silly can help us go to the next level of worship!
In 2 Samuel 6 we see King David engaged in extravagant worship, as he essentially dances in his long underwear before crowds of people. His wife, Michal, sarcastically points out how he has humiliated himself before everyone. She was blind to the fact that extravagant worship was David’s priority. David knew that the worldly dignity represented by his royal garments was an obstacle to extravagant worship. What Michal or anyone else thought of David as he worshiped was NOT something that he considered in how he behaved.
Anything that we do OR don’t do that is designed to preserve or protect our dignity will prevent us from truly entering into extravagance in our worship. If you consider what someone besides God thinks of you jumping up and down in worship, then you have worked to protect your dignity. Conversely, if you jump up and down with the thought that someone, besides God, will think you are a really great worshiper because you jump up and down, you have again focused on your dignity or pride in yourself. Fundamentally, you have turned your worship from God to that person. You have gone from a vertical orientation to a horizontal orientation. If we rate worship on a scale of 0 to infinity, pride is on the end marked “0”.
So, you say “Great Fred, just never mind what other people think, it’s just soooo easy!” No, it doesn’t come naturally for us to not care about what other people think of us. We all want people to like us. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus gives us a key: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Wait! Didn’t Paul say that we leave childish things behind to become mature? Yes. So, there can be only one explanation: Natural maturity and spiritual maturity are two completely different things!
What does a child have that we need? Silliness. Children are experts at silliness! They are experts at silliness because they have not yet become naturally mature. They have not learned to protect their dignity. They express themselves in ways that give no consideration to whether others will approve of their expression.
Becoming like a child sets us free to be extravagant. So come on! Get a little silly and watch your worship go to the next level: Extrrrrrrravagant!