There are two key qualities that many worship leaders strive to exude in their worship: confidence and authority. You may have found yourself saying this about your favorite worship leader or pastor: “They lead with such confidence” or “They have such authority when they worship.” They are attractive qualities, and they convey a sense of authenticity and believability to the congregation. But if you’re like me, you may wonder sometimes: how did they get such confidence? And, is it possible for me to have that kind of confidence when I worship?
The first thing that it’s important to realize is that confidence and surety in the gospel of Christ is not something that is reserved for only a few, but it is freely given by God to all of His children. If we are sons and daughters of the kingdom, we have full access to the kind of authority that proclaims the promises of God with complete assurance — but there is something we first need to understand about the essence of confidence.
Confidence is defined in modern language as “the feeling or belief that can rely on someone or something; firm trust.” The key to confidence is dependence. That means that our source of boldness is directly tied to our weakness, and our desperate need for a Savior. We are wretched sinners in need of rescue, and we were unworthy of receiving it — yet still, in His grace, God reaches down and rescues us. He extends his abundance in our insufficiency, and invites us to rely on Him, and therein lies our boldness. Our confidence does not come from us, but Christ in us, in our weakness and in our worship.
OUR CONFIDENCE DOES NOT COME FROM US, BUT CHRIST IN US, IN OUR WEAKNESS AND IN OUR WORSHIP.
So, how can we exhibit this boldness in our worship? We are told in Scripture to draw near to the throne of God with confidence — not to bring Him a perfect gift, but to bring Him whatever we have because He knows our weaknesses and wants to lavish mercy on us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Our confidence is found in our assurance that God has abundant grace with which to welcome us and cover us, no matter what we bring to Him. He doesn’t just want your adoration and your joy — He wants your sorrow, He wants your apathy, He wants your struggle with sin, He wants your imperfection; and ultimately, He wants your dependence. Bring whatever you have to the altar of God, because your brokenness allows His light to shine through. (Psalm 55:22)
This is where it gets difficult. God is not ignorant. He is not unaware that we are human, and that we experience hard and heavy things. (In fact, he is deeply acquainted with the emotions and experiences that we face (John 1:14).) There are times when our hands are too shaky with anxiety to lift to Him, our hearts feel too burdened with sin to open to Him, and our doubting hearts do not fully believe in the words that we offer to Him. The enemy would love to keep us from singing by convincing us that our praise is meaningless if it is not wholehearted. We must fight against this lie. If you are struggling with discontentment or idolatry, and feel that you cannot sing that Jesus is all that you need, sing it anyway. Sing it over your struggle, and sing it in full confidence that God can strengthen your desire for Him. Believe that He can transform your discontentment into a holy, deep, and insatiable longing for more of Himself.
THERE IS STILL POWER IN DECLARING A TRUTH OF GOD OVER YOURSELF, EVEN WHEN YOU STRUGGLE TO BELIEVE IT.
There is still power in declaring a truth of God over yourself, even when you struggle to believe it. Wholehearted worship can be found in declaring the words of a worship song over your struggle — when we shout praises to God, even when our offering is strained with tears.
So, when you walk into a worship service with heaviness in your heart, or weariness in your bones, or an apathetic spirit, do this — sing. Sing, even if it’s hard. There is a holiness, a dignity in those human moments because Jesus lived through them too. He knows, intimately, what it looks like to surrender to the Father and to approach the throne even while entrenched in human emotion and weakness (Luke 22:42). God alone gives us the strength and power to proclaim His truth with boldness. That is the true essence of confident worship — pouring out praise to the Father of grace and strength who wants our hearts, no matter what they look like.