It’s a descriptor used by many when referring to worship gatherings or even whole churches. It’s another, maybe unspoken albeit very present “check box” on the list of style preferences people consider when visiting and or evaluating a new church. Granted, it is a question that only someone who has been around churches for a while would even think to ask, but the question is more and more often raised…”Is your worship Spirit-led?” Maybe more often, instead of a question it is used in a statement such as, “You should join me at church “A” because they have Spirit-led worship”.
“It’s like…I mean…you know…”
You may be surprised, but when I have asked people to explain exactly what they mean, I’ve received less than informative answers. Accompanied with this often inability to have substantive reasoning for the conclusion is the element of feeling. Following closely behind the feeling is the actions. In most cases Church gatherings that are labeled “Spirit-led” are those where outward, visible actions (raising hands, clapping, shouting, use of the “sign” spiritual gifts, etc.) is the norm.
In this article I’m not intending to talk about feelings or spiritual gifts or being demonstrative in corporate worship. What I want to discuss is, how do we know what is Spirit -led” Is there a biblical way to determine if a person or group of people are Spirit-led?
Leave it to Paul
As I began thinking over these questions, Galatians chapter 5 came to mind. It’s verses that children are often taught to memorize. They are verses that can easily be memorized due to the ease with which the words can be applied to a rhythm, as if they are poetry. Galatians 5:22-23:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Now, I know that in Galatians, Paul is addressing the people concerning their freedom in Christ. That by the Gospel of Christ they are no longer under the bondage of the law. That by accepting that parts of the law must be kept for salvation is submitting themselves to the whole law thereby assuming justification through their own works and not the work of Christ. Effectively, rejecting Christ. I also recognize though, that Paul follows this “…you were called to freedom…” explanation with the call to “…walk by the Spirit…”.
It’s apples and oranges
Paul goes on to explain that the desires of the flesh are opposed to those of the Spirit. Continuing, he plainly states, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18) Then he juxtaposes the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. This is what sparked my thoughts. This sure seems like a list of identifiable characteristics!
Maybe more food-for-thought than actual teaching/training for “Spirit-led worship”, however I felt it beneficial to share with you all. Maybe we should be seeking to cultivate and harvest fruit instead of chasing experiences. Could it be a better gauge on our church to evaluate the fruit produced in lives over the experiential (and let’s be honest, many times fleeting) feelings produced on a Sunday morning?
(Note: I used to have comments open on these posts and really appreciate input from the team. However, due to the ridiculous amount of spam the open comments section generates daily, I’ve closed them. If you have questions or comments, feel free to email them to me.)