I have now been a worship leader for half of my life, which isn’t as profound as it sounds since I am only 16. Nonetheless, worship has defined much of my life to this point, especially worship through music.
Much of the Western church has taken the word worship and put it in the box of “worship through music.” How sadly mistaken we are. Music is merely an expression of worship. In reality worship is “the attributing of ultimate worth to something.” This is also called enjoyment. Ultimately, Jesus is the only one truly worthy of this unhindered enjoyment, despite the fact that we are constantly enjoying the things of this world far more than we delight in God.
As a worship leader, I have often questioned how to truly enjoy Jesus through this music I wake up Sundays at 6am to sing four services in a row, multiple times a month. Believe it or not, worship leaders do not have these magical, emotional, Spirit-filled moments every time we get up on the platform. Crazy, right?
The same can be said for my personal relationship with the Lord. When I wake up an hour before I need to so I can dive into the Word and prayer, it is rarely a time of happy tears and rejoicing at all of the incredible truths I am finding in God’s Word. More often than not, it is a time of wishing I had more coffee and time to sleep.
Nonetheless, God has commanded us to spend time with Him, delighting in Him always (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16) So the question is, how do we enjoy, find satisfaction in and worship God even when we don’t feel like it? How do we find joy in the Scriptures we are reading when we only have apathy? How do I get on stage to lead others authentically when I feel spiritually dry?
There is no magic formula in this fight for joy, but the words of my favorite hymn have so often aided me in this battle:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus”
Before time in the Word or worship through music, I have to center my heart. This means going to war against Satan on my knees in prayer as he tries to turn my eyes to myself or the things of this world rather than on my King. This also means examining what I am pursuing. Am I pursuing God or just a heightened emotional experience?
“Look full in His wonderful face”
This means intentionally looking for the ways that your affections are fueled for Jesus. For me, it is going into nature and marveling at His creation. Romans 1:20 talks about how God has blatantly revealed His power and divinity through creation, so we have no excuse to not see Him.
“And the things of earth will grow strangely dim”
I love that it says “will.” It does not say the things of earth automatically fade away when we focus our eyes on Christ. It is a process, described in Psalm 40, as waiting patiently for the Lord in the dry seasons, believing His promise that He will refuel our affections for Him in His timing.
“In the light of His glory and grace”
Once witnessed, everything apart from Christ becomes shallow and dull in comparison to His majesty. On the other hand, apart from His grace, we have no ability to muster up our own joy. It is a gift. Accept it with thanksgiving, and express the joy! It is so much more than closing your eyes and raising your hands. It is delighting in the King. The breather of the stars. The one who delights in you.
What would it look like if the church worshipped God in this way? The world around would look to us in wonder, curious as to what has fueled this lasting joy and satisfaction, compared to the momentary happiness that comes from worshipping the things of this world. Let’s turn our eyes upon Jesus as we unite in attributing ultimate worth to our Savior.
 Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel. Crossway. 2014.
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Helen H. Lemmel. 1922. Public Domain.
Originally published on melissadanisi.com.