I recently read 1 Timothy chapter 2. I was particularly struck by verses 8-10. For those who aren’t aware, Paul wrote this passage to Timothy so, “If I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God.” So, 1 Timothy is all about what things should be like at church services.
Now to the part I found particularly interesting. He says in Verse 8, “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.” This passage shows me God is fully aware of emotional needs. It shows me we are primarily self-centered. So, with this statement the Word of God cuts right to a man’s heart. The bulk of us as men are proud and self-sufficient. Lifting our hands to the Lord in prayer or worship cuts against the grain. It is a sign of humility and surrender.
He asks us to be free of anger and controversy. Again symptoms of my “me first” mentality. Anger over someone having the audacity to disagree with me or cross me. Controversy, always having my shorts in a bunch over something!
So for a man to be in prayer and to slip a hand heavenward in public, means this worship space isn’t really about me. It is about me humbling myself before a higher authority!
In the same way the passage cuts right across the grain of the female mind. From the time they are little, girls want to be pretty and noticed for looking pretty. So, Scripture says when going to worship, “I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”
I believe I had previously relegated this passage to a cultural thing that was no longer necessary. But, after years of study on emotional intelligence, I believe it is spot on for today.
The bottom line teaching is when we go to worship, it isn’t about us it is about God. We are called to go against our human inclination for men to be proud, self-sufficient and half irritated about everything. For women, to go to worship focusing on the Lord and not seeking attention for yourself.
After reading this two weeks ago, I was in a church service and sensed the prompting of the Spirit in my soul. “Will you lift your hand in surrender to me?” I am not a hand raiser in church. It took all I had to slip my hand into the air. I felt humbled. I was moved to tears following my willingness to humble myself before the One who is worthy of worship.