Reflections on living the “insideout–life” of a worshipper
‘For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places’. (Eph 6: 12 NLT)
When I was growing up, my mum has this statue. It was a madonna (or the Virgin Mary) and it had some sort of coating on it that changed colour according to what the weather was going to be: ie when it was going to rain, it turned pink, when it was fine it went blue, purple when it was changeable. You see we have Italian heritage and this had been a gift to my mum from one our Italian relatives all the way from Italy. It came to be affectionately known as the ‘Madonna Barometer’. A barometer, in scientific terms an instrument that is used to measure air pressure in the environment and it can be used to forecast short term weather changes. Essentially it is measuring the atmosphere.
I am going to go as far as to say that as worship leaders, and often creatives, we have a special capacity for being ‘spiritual barometers’ when it comes to our environments. I think part of the way we are made, and also part of our spiritual function as worshippers is to be able to sense the spiritual atmosphere, the things that are happening in the spiritual realm and to not only bring awareness to it, but to sing and to declare the truth of God into these situations. We can see from Ephesians 6:12 that our battle is not ‘against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities in the unseen world’. In Daniel chapter 10 we also read of Daniel’s conversation with an Angelic being – you can find it in Daniel 10: 10-20. The Angel is explaining to Daniel that he had been delayed in getting a message to him because he had been battling the prince of the Persian Kingdom. Later in v 20 the Angel also talks about a power called the prince of Greece. So we get this picture that there are principalities and powers over geographical areas and there is a war going on between these forces of evil and the heavenly powers.
I do believe that this is still happening today, and I believe that as worshippers, worship leaders and creatives, we can be extra sensitive to this dimension. We are spiritual barometers. We are sensitive to the atmospheres around us and I think it’s for a reason.
Jeff and Julie Crabtree in their book ‘Living with a Creative Mind’ talk about one of the characteristic and gifts I would say about creatives is that we live a kind of ‘skinless’ existence. We with a layer less ‘skin’ metaphorically. We are wired to be extra sensitive to our environments. We take in more information from the world around us than others (sometimes too much) in order to use it as inspiration and turn it into art, something beautiful, something redemptive, and as believers, something that leads people to encounter God’s glory. I believe it’s that same for worshippers and worship leaders. We are extra spiritually sensitive to our environments, in order to be aware of the things that are impacting people. Spiritual atmospheres that are affecting peoples hearts and mind. Things like shame, hopelessness, discouragement, anxiety and fear to name a few. How many times have you been on to lead worship and you are feeling a certain way or even into the week leading up to it you are feeling an anxiousness or a heaviness, that might be uncharacteristic for you? Sometimes.. I would suggest it is because God is revealing a battle that is going on for people, and as you step out and lead them in worship you are fighting the battle on their behalf. I’m not saying that this happens all the time, sometimes we are just going through stuff, but don’t be surprised when you are feeling emotions spiritually sensing things that are a bit out of the blue. God might be wanting to reveal a certain principality that is at work in the atmosphere that he is wanting to confront through the worship of his people. Worship is warfare and it shifts atmospheres to bring people into a place of encountering the living God. And HIS worshippers are on the forefront of the battle. We read this even literally in some of the OT battles as you can see places like 2 Chronicles – 20:21. As we worship, we win the battle for others.
So essentially we need to armour up against the schemes of the enemy!!
2 ways we can do this..
Foster an awareness a) of the spiritual realm and b) your own inner life. This might be through recognising some of the things you are feeling or even what you notice different people are saying- things like ‘I’m so tired, I just feel so hopeless’. These things could be dominating the atmosphere. Learn to recognise what you are feeling and try to catch it and examine it before God. It might be the enemy dragging you into negative mental/emotional patterns. He will most likely target your areas if weakness and amplify them so try to become aware of what you are thinking and feeling and take them captive to Christ.
Counter these things with truth: Get to know that character of God so that you can combat the lies about him and also the lies about yourself that the enemy would try to throw at you. Study your bible – fill your mind with truth. Arm yourself with the truth of who God says you are! Put on the armour of God as we also read in Ephesians 6.
This is a really big area so below are some links to some extra resources for you to help with this. But I encourage you to armor up as you head into the rest of your week.
Neil T Anderson Freedom in Christ Ministries – https://www.ficm.org
Roma Waterman Prophetic Training – https://training.romawaterman.com
Spiritual Discernment training with Helen and Mark Goatley – https://all4him.org