My wife once scored us great seats at a concert, front row and centered. I was elated. Not only would we have the closest possible view, but there would be no one standing in front of me, so I could remain comfortably seated the entire show.
But when the concert began, everyone stood — and so did I. When the music commenced, everyone began clapping and moving with the beat. Being severely rhythmically challenged, I was dismayed, but felt obligated to do what everyone else was doing. Not able to pick up the beat, I looked out of the corner of my eye for someone with a good sense of rhythm, timing my clapping to match theirs. Then I tried to make my body move like everybody else.
Three songs into the concert, I was mentally spent by trying to keep up my charade — and was completely missing the concert! So I decided to not follow the crowd, but instead direct my full attention to the performer. I sat down and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the show.
Sometimes I’m in that predicament at church. There are expectations to do what everyone else is doing and behave a certain way, but in doing so, I may take my focus away from worshiping God.
If we are to truly worship God “in spirit and in truth” as the Bible says, sometimes we may need to not do what everyone else is doing. This might mean sitting while others are standing — or vice versa — praying while others are singing, raising hands even if you are the only one, and so forth.
Real worship is about connecting with God. Doing so honestly (“in truth”) means to follow his leading (“in spirit”) and not the crowd.