Ok, I’m messing with ya – to get you to think outside the box, and to challenge your theology.
It was Judas who betrayed Jesus. His name derives from Jacob’s son, Judah, whose name means praise. So, you could say “Praise” betrayed Jesus. In fact, you could say “Praise betrayed Salvation” because Jesus means salvation.
Now worship derives from worth-ship – the act of recognizing worth e.g., expressing the value of God. So how can it be that the very act of honouring God can betray him? That happens when the physical act is misplaced. I’ve been a church musician all my life. I’ve sung hymns and played in Salvation Army brass bands. I’ve led worship following Hillsong and Bethel trends, and I’ve sung in eastern orthodox choirs. All of these honour God in very different ways.
Worship isn’t just music. Moses prescribed regularly getting together for a barbeque to honour God. And that’s where things go wrong. When our worship is not honouring God, our worship betrays him. The very act of honouring him is prostituted for a different purpose. So that most intimate act with our beloved saviour is given to another lover. A typical trap for musicians – whether traditional, orthodox, or pop, is pride. This was the downfall of Lucifer, when his position as Heaven’s worship leader led to pride, which led to seeking worship of himself. This is common with people getting up on stage and getting caught up in “I’ve made it. I’m one of the elite now.” The desire to look presentable can be overcome with a desire to look sexy. The intention to lead people to look to God is violated with causing people to look at me. Now this isn’t just a musician-thing. We all do it. It’s called salvation by works. It’s the desire to be recognized as doing godly acts to earn the approval and favour of people.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Once we’re aware of our human nature, we can redirect our worship back to honouring God. So, whether that’s singing hymns or pop worship, praying in the closet or leading worship in a stadium, or gathering together for a barbeque to honour God, we can worship him in spirit and truth. The key is to keep God at the centre, and honour his word and intentions expressed through the Bible. Instead of just doing the programme, whether it’s a liturgy or the run-sheet, we put that aside and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If he wants to continue with the inspired plan, that’s good. If he wants to surprise you, that’s even better. Just don’t betray God with your praise.