Worship, the Emotional Component. By Jay Bowman


Every element of true worship involves some emotional component. The emotional component is not driven by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit (as in Calvinism) or “getting the Holy Spirit” (as in Charismatic practice). The emotional component of true worship is the result of relationship with Deity.

The faithful disciple will go into every assembly with the emotion of joy, reverence for Deity and the anticipated interests in praising Deity and being edified. The true worshipper will leave the assembly with the emotional satisfaction of participating in all that God has directed, unto His glory. The emotional component is not contrived and advertised by men. It is the result of relationship with God! Emotions in collective worship are appropriate and profitable, depending upon one’s relationship with Deity.

No campaign to stamp out emotion can bring us closer to God, nor answer the error and emptiness of popular “charismatic” practices. The proper response is to foster healthy and scriptural concepts of emotion, as determined by divine purpose and revealed.

When the Word is faithfully preached, there should be a range of emotions in the hearts of faithfully listeners (remorse, assurance, joy, the satisfaction of knowledge gained). In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, remembering His death, the emotions of both sorrow and gratitude should combine in our reflection. Singing has a strong emotional component. But this emotional result is directed tied to lyrical content. What do the lyrics mean to the worshipper? Some love music and are moved by what they believe is good music, but without any self-examination or thought to lyrical content. The emotional connection derives from content, not form (harmony, meter, structure). Likewise, praying is not simply a formal, mechanical exercise. It has great emotional potential, but not due to voice or poetic structure, but content and direction (praying to Deity). Giving should also have an emotional component (a cheerful giver, 2 Cor. 9:7). 

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