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Go For The Banana! (Devotion)

Go For The Banana! (Devotion)

By Dustin Smith on May 23, 2012

I read a study recently that I think a lot of people can relate to when it comes to their spiritual walk. It went something like this:

Put five apes in a cage. Then dangle a banana from the ceiling of that cage and place a ladder under it. Whenever an ape attempts to climb the ladder to reach the banana, spray all of them with cold water. After a few times, the apes will associate climbing the ladder with being sprayed with cold water. One can now turn off the cold water.

Then, replace one of the original apes with a new one. This new ape will undoubtedly try to get to the banana, but if he tries he will be attacked by the others. He will have no idea why this is so, but will soon learn that he must not climb the ladder. Next replace yet another ape. When he approaches the ladder all the apes will attack him. One of these apes has no idea why he may not climb the ladder, but he participates in the punishment enthusiastically. Soon the new ape will also learn not to climb the ladder.

In this way, one can continue until all the original apes are replaced. At this stage, none of them know why they must not climb the ladder, but none will do so, and all will attack anyone that tries. All of this because "that's the way it has always been around here.

Have you ever been to church and felt like you wanted to raise your hands but could not because no one else was? Or maybe you felt moved to sing at the top of your lungs when they hit the chorus of “Shout to the Lord” but felt awkward because no one else was even singing. Well don’t feel alone! You have just joined the crowd of people who have tried to reach for something more and are constantly being pulled back by people who are not even sure why they are pulling you back. We have based our worship on our upbringing, our traditions, and our preferences for so long that we want to pull back anyone that does not line up with them. But just because it is the way you were raised is not a good enough reason for all of us to jump on your bandwagon.

This is the similar problem that Jesus encountered when he spoke to the Pharisees and teachers of the law in Mark 7 Jesus replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”

Some will say that I am arguing for a more charismatic style of worship, but this is not a style issue—it is a heart issue. I believe that our worship has become more driven by traditions and personalities than by the word of God itself. We are no longer people who respond from the heart but we have been “trained” and tend to respond more based on our feelings or preferences.

You can test yourself on this by looking up some of the most common things seen in your church vs. what the Bible says. Have you ever read in the bible where it says to bow your heads and close your eyes when you pray? Or how about the scripture that says, “worship however you feel led”? Or how about the scripture that says to “worship in your heart”? You will not find any of these in the Bible—those are all traditions you have been taught.

Are they bad? No, they are not in themselves bad, but when they are used as a replacement for the commands of God, then we have a problem. The Bible does say, “Let all men lift holy hands in the sanctuary”, “Shout to the Lord”, “Clap your hands all ye people”, and “from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”! Notice that none of those scriptures sound like suggestions but they seem to be spoken more as commands. We do not want to become like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law that set aside the commands of God to observe our own traditions!

I pray we would learn to hold lightly to our traditions, tightly to His commands and we would worship Him with all of our HEART, SOUL, MIND and STRENGTH!


Dustin is a part of the All About Worship leadership team and the worship leader at World Revival Church in Kansas City.

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Dustin Smith

Dustin Smith

Dustin leads a collective called Here Be Lions.  He is an artist, songwriter and worship leader, who has a desire to see the nations ignited with a passion for worship. With an unyielding love for God and His people, Dustin has been able to cross denominational lines with his music. He has an attitude that gives God all the glory, and that attitude transcends age, race, color and creed.