Do you have to be in a good mood to worship? I’ve always been intrigued when the scriptures sometimes seem to command emotion from us. It’s as if God expects you to rule your heart. (Spoiler: he does!)
- Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the porch and the altar (Joel 2:17)
- Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. (Psalm 100:1-2)
- Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
As a worship leader, one of the most beneficial things we can do for our congregation is to demonstrate how to rule your heart, and bring forth praise–not because we do (or don’t) feel like it, but because God is worthy. In our era it has become commonplace to believe we are not responsible for our emotions and thoughts. But perhaps we are responsible. In fact, I think so.
Rule Your Heart
Some events—and the emotions that go with them—are indeed beyond our control: unexpected loss, good news beyond all expectation, hurt inflicted by a loved-one. Yet in the everyday-ness of living our emotions are largely the result of our habitual thoughts. If we could discern the map of our heart and mind, I suspect we would discover the well-worn pathways of our thinking and feeling. We train ourselves to think and feel in repeated ways.
And if you can train your emotions, you can rule your heart.
(This is where I should cite studies from some Journal of Psychiatric Studies or an authoritative-sounding publication, but no: I’m just going to share what I’ve observed about myself and others during my few decades of living.)