This morning, I was doing my normal morning routine – coffee and Facebook – when I came across a video of a man dancing. He was in church, dancing to “Oh Happy Day.” The original poster had stated he was “dancing in the spirit.” Almost as soon as my FB friend posted it, someone commented that the man was “in the flesh.” A couple other folks chimed in and agreed that yes, he was definitely dancing “in the flesh” but had some really good moves.
What happened next was a firestorm of questions in my own head about the whole situation! I will spare you most of them, but here are a few….So? What if he is in the flesh? Does it matter? I mean, if he’s dancing for the Lord, does it matter how he dances? Does it make our offering less acceptable to God if we’re “in the flesh”? How do they know he’s “in the flesh”?
The man in question was probably late forties, dressed nice but not in a suit, nice looking and was dancing what appeared to be the “shag.” If you’re not familiar, the shag is a dance originated somewhere along the NC/SC coast (depends on who you ask) and is a fairly simple 6-step partner dance.
The Bible tells us we must worship “in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23. It also makes it clear that the flesh is opposed to the spirit. “For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures. ” Galatians 5:17, TLB.
Okay. Seems plain enough. Yes, we are to worship in spirit. Truthfully, though, I’m not sure what “spiritual” dance looks like, necessarily and I’m not always sure how to judge it. And….maybe that’s my point. Who am I to judge it, anyway? To say someone is doing something “in the flesh” is to imply that somehow that action isn’t going to be acceptable to God. If David can dance before the Lord in excitement and praise, why can’t we? If we are doing it for the Lord, doesn’t that alone make it an “in the spirit” action?
Many churches have decided that dancing is unacceptable. While I agree that there are many dances that can be quite crude or lewd, I would say that’s true with everything. Satan is just a copycat. Anything you can find in the kingdom of God, you can find in satan’s world….or at least a facsimile of it. Think about Moses when he went before the Pharaoh. Pharaoh had his priests perform many of the same acts that God was performing through Moses. In the end, though, God won out, because satan can’t copy everything.
As far as “in the spirit” versus “in the flesh” goes, I think we often have to step out in faith (which can be a fleshly move) because our spirit isn’t feeling it yet. We have to subject our flesh to the spirit. More than once, God has told me to do something and I didn’t feel it, but did it anyway. Sometimes you have to fake it til you make it! If we always operated “in the spirit” we wouldn’t need to make ourselves do anything, it would just come naturally.
My ultimate issue, though, aside from dancing or whether it was in the flesh or the spirit is this….to look at someone and make the “in the flesh” judgment is spiritual snobbery. If the dancing man belongs to the Lord and God doesn’t want him doing the shag, God will tell Him. If the man doesn’t belong to the Lord, God will work that part out too. I can only be responsible for me. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
So. If that man wants to shag for Jesus, who am I to tell him it’s not spiritual enough? How about we just love each other and let God sort it all out? I think God will be okay with that.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!
By the way, 2 Samuel 6:14 says, “And David danced before the LORD with all his might.” I think, maybe, might matters more than style!