Praise Dancing In The Church
The first time I heard a message in the church about dancing was in a Baptist church.
The Pastor was explaining that we should not dance because dancing leads to sex.
Seeing how I am a little of a smarty pants, I turned to my wife and suggested that we go dancing after church.
Later in my Christian life, I encountered where Pentecostals would have an experience that they called dancing in the Spirit.
They would let out a shout and start to do what can only be described as a frenzied jig.
Dancing has been stigmatized in the church as something that is worldly or carnal, or it has been hyper-spiritualized to the point that it is only allowed if you are somehow taken over by the Spirit of God, and it is not you that is dancing.
I think both of these mentalities in the church are neither healthy nor biblical.
I believe that there are real benefits of allowing yourself to praise dance before the Lord.
Dancing Before The Lord Is A Form Of Praise
Psalm 149:3Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
Psalm 150:4Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Dancing is a form of praise. It is part of how God wants us to worship Him.
Dancing is part of how we express with our bodies what our heart feels towards the Lord.
With most dancing, that expression is one of joy, celebration, abundance, and rejoicing.
Those feelings are genuine and should be part of a believer’s life that has been set free from the bondage of sin and now is celebrating their new life in Christ.
Praise Dance As A Form Of Sacrifice
2 Samuel 6:12-15
12 Then King David was told, “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God.” So David went there and brought the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David with a great celebration. 13 After the men who were carrying the Ark of the Lord had gone six steps, David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. 15 So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.
One of the biggest hang-ups people have about dancing before the Lord is their self-consciousness and their desire for self-respect.
Both of those attitudes begin with self.
Dancing before the Lord causes us to lay down self and humble ourselves before the Lord. It becomes more important to lay ourselves down as a sacrifice than it does to worry about what we or others around us think.
Praise dance is one way we give a sacrifice to God.
Dancing Before The Lord Is A Sign Of God’s Restoration In Our Lives
4 I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.You will again be happyand dance merrily with your tambourines.
Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
When we were apart from God, we were in bondage. We were slaves to the forces of evil that bound us.
When we experience the freedom we have in Christ, we are free to dance.
Dancing is a sign that God has indeed set us free.
When you praise dance, many of the things that are hindering and binding you in your Christian walk lose their power over you.
It not only is a sign that you have been restored but at times brings that restoration as well.
Smith Wigglesworth said this about dancing.
“I don’t ever ask Smith Wigglesworth how he feels!” I jump out of bed! I dance before the Lord for at least 10 to 12 minutes – high speed dancing. I jump up and down and run around my room telling God how great he is, how wonderful He is, how glad I am to be associated with Him and to be His child.”
That is the testimony of a man who has experienced the restoration of God and its accompanying freedom.
Dancing For The Lord Is Healthy
Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time to go through different experiences. He talks about how we need to have time to be born and die, time to grieve and a time to heal, a time to plant and a time to harvest. In that list, he tells us that there is a time to dance.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.A time to grieve and a time to dance.
All of the things that Solomon lists here are things that are part of a healthy expression of human life.
It is a balanced expression of our life.
Dancing is part of a healthy expression of human life.
So it is healthy for you to dance before the Lord.
Praise Dancing Celebrates God’s Victory
19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, the Lord brought the water crashing down on them. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground!20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced.21 And Miriam sang this song: “Sing to the Lord,for he has triumphed gloriously;he has hurled both horse and riderinto the sea.”
Here we see the prophet Miriam leading the children of Israel in a dance of victory.
Just as God gave Israel victory over those that would enslave them in bondage, so God has given us the victory over Satan who would enslave us to slavery again.
This is reason enough to dance before the Lord.
Our Heavenly Father Celebrates With Dancing
One of the biggest things that struck me when I was seeking the Lord about praise dancing was this tiny little reference to dancing found in the story of the prodigal son.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house,
When the prodigal son returned to the Father, the Father threw a celebration. He had a party! In the midst of that party was dancing.
I find a straightforward correlation between those that would get angry over dancing in the church or dancing before the Lord and their place within this story.
Those that are against dancing before the Lord have the same type of heart as the elder brother who was angry that the Father would celebrate the restoration of His child unto Him.
Who would you rather be?
The one who celebrates like the Father in the story of the prodigal son, or the elder brother who was angry that people would celebrate their freedom in Christ by dancing before the Lord?