Thursday, August 31, 2017

Involuntary Worship

by Danetta Kellar

The human body has both a voluntary and an involuntary nervous system. 

Because of the involuntary nervous system, we do not have to will our hearts to beat, remember to pump our lungs for breath, or set a reminder on repeat to make sure blood flows through our veins. All of these magnificent functions and more happen deep in the silence of our miraculous body, automatically.
However, if we want our fingers to move across the keyboard to write a book, we must will them to do so. If we wish to lose weight, we must choose to regularly walk or run at a pace that will increase our calorie burn. To remain strong, we must will our mouths to open, take in food, chew and swallow. The involuntary nervous system then takes over and turns that food into fuel for the accomplishments of our day.

The partnership between the voluntary and involuntary nervous systems is essential to life.

In a very similar way, the human soul has been created with both a voluntary and an involuntary worship system, and they are both essential to life.

We are taught that worship is a necessary practice for the Christian. We choose to go to church, to Bible study, to community group. We silence the noise of busy lives to focus on singing songs of praise. We receive a raise at work, get the good news of a positive health diagnosis, celebrate when a child wins a sports game, and we make the choice to praise God for our blessings.

We volunteer our worship to God, especially when things go well in our lives.

It is common for voluntary worship to ebb and flow with the rise and fall of circumstances and experiences in our human existence. After all, we are in charge of it, and it is easier to volunteer thanks and praise when life is good. Kind of like taking that (voluntary) walk around the block when we feel like it, not on the days we are worn out.

Voluntary worship has great value for discipline and training, much like training for a 5k, learning a new skill, or forming a helpful habit. 

Many choose to do it for their own good, even when they do not feel particularly joyful.

However, in the same way the human body was not made to thrive through only voluntary functions, the human soul was not formed to worship merely by choice. 

Like a body which only chews food but never digests it for its nutritional benefits, a soul which sings hymns on Sunday but never meditates on the glory of God grows weak and weary.

There is another kind of worship that happens when we come to the end of our choices, to the end of our efforts to be grateful and good, to the end of ourselves. 

It occurs when we transfer control to the hidden mystery of a Sovereign God who goes before us, behind us, and hems us in above and below. 

In this juncture between choice and trust, we assess our lives’ circumstances not through how they bless us, but how they reflect the purpose and glory of God. We move from the center stage of the battle between good and evil. We are no longer the leading actors. 

Instead, we make way for One who is Greater. We watch breathlessly as the majestic, splendid, and glorious God displays his power over everything in heaven and earth. And we soar, involuntarily.

This is the place where we glimpse with awe a God who we may not understand, but we trust. 

This is involuntary worship, and it flows from our souls innately, a hard-wired automatic response to the glory of God. We do not have to will this type of worship, to choose to do it. Our souls cry out, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come."

Involuntary worship is a deep and beautiful mystery. You and I were made to experience its power here on earth, even while our feet still walk this broken soil.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. I Chronicles 29:11, NIV

Choose today to take time out and meditate on the glory of God in this verse, and experience the involuntary worship system hidden deep in your soul.


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