Last night, my son Lucas and I showed no mercy to the basement carpet as we had a late-night dance session. After a nice warm bath, sporting his 2 piece cotton pajama’s, and caring very little that I was finishing some office work, he made his way down the steps. Disappointed with the jazz music he was hearing and yet turned on by its rhythm, the “play a fast song daddy” cries began. I resisted to no avail. Scrolling down the media player list… I click on Kenny Loggins “Footloose”. He likes to dance… and so do I… so when he really gets in the mood it is contagious, and only exhaustion can stop us. (me)
Life affords few pleasures as enjoyable as dancing. It is a great tragedy that so many of us have chosen a life void of dancing; missing out on the pure joy which, without fail, floods our hearts when we let down our walls and lace up our shoes. So as Christians what is it that keeps our feet heavy and our knees stiff? What has stolen our dance?
PRIDE… but not in the way you’re thinking…
The pride that hinders exuberant praise is not the fear of looking silly before others while we dance. Like the million-dollar prize winner, or the child who gets just what he wanted but didn’t expect for Christmas, the physical expression of overflowing joy cannot be contained. Jumping, spinning, and shouting all come out of a heart filled to the brim and running over with pure joy. This most often happens situationally, and such is the case, at times, with our praise. However, after receiving Christ and walking with Him (and the church) for any number of years, our human pride can cause our eyes to grow dim to our continued need for salvation. When Christ’s provision of salvation becomes a daily necessity to us rather than a one-time experience, we’ll walk in an attitude of gratitude and praise will flow naturally. So with David, we must pray, (daily if need be) “restore to me the joy of my salvation.” Awareness of our sinfulness and need for a savior increases the joy we have in our savior and in our salvation. When the heart is overflowing with joy, the physical expression of that joy is nearly unstoppable.
In some churches, and in certain circles of believers, a person will quite often hear strong exhortation and encouragement to “dance before the Lord!” and “Clap!” and “Shout Praises!” These leaders will use words like “frozen chosen” in describing churches who worship quietly, or more traditionally, with old hymns and an organ perhaps. Interestingly enough, while the “shouters and dancers” speak critically toward the churches who have forbidden such “ruckus”, often times, worshippers can feel forced to be loud in the same way some others are forced to be quiet. Pure worship is a response, not to a worship leader, but to God and His goodness, love, and mighty work in our lives. Forced praise most always fizzles out and can cause worshippers to questions their sincerity. Again, true praise will come forth from a heart bubbling over with joy. Fill a cup with water, and the overflow will splash outside the cup on everything around it. As containers of Christ and His joy, pride is the hole in the bottom of our cup that prevents the joy of our salvation from overflowing and overwhelming us.
I have found that the overwhelming sense of thankfulness that causes a physical response out of me such as dancing, jumping, or spinning most often comes after a revelation from God’s Word unveils a new facet of who He is in my life. Just the other day I was listening to a song I’ve heard probably 50 times before, but it hit me deep in my soul and the reminder that “my deliverer is the great I am” caused my to stand up out of my office chair and move my feet and wave my arms as an adrenaline rush of joy forbade my sitting any longer.
If you only dance in church, I question your motives. If you never dance in church, remember the path you were walking and what your final destination was before Christ placed His Cross directly in your path… translating you into His kingdom of Light.
If you hear “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins, “The Twist” by Chubby Checker, or “Celebrate” by Earth Wind and Fire, I loose you to dance and enjoy! God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. He loves our dance when we express it as praise, and He is well pleased when we dance for the simple enjoyment of it.
Music and dance are His gifts to us, meant to be used in worship and in pleasure. In praising Him freely, we will find the meshing of these two; worship & pleasure… and all fear of offending God in the dance disintegrates. Once this occurs, worshipping God becomes our pleasure and a delight, rather than a responsibility or requirement from a Holy God. He does not require it, and because He does not… Oh how He loves it.
Give it to Him.