What is Dancing in the Spirit?
Dancing in the Spirit is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in a believer. This manifestation by itself is not an indication of greater spirituality. If this experience happens, it is because the worshiper has become so enriched with God’s presence that the Spirit takes control of physical motions as well as the spiritual and emotional being. It must also be clearly distinguished from social dancing and from choreographed or orchestrated dancing.
Psalm 149:3 tells us to “Praise His Name with the dance, with tambourine and lyre (string instrument)”. I offer my praise and worship to the Lord through dancing in the spirit. I don’t do it as part of a congregational worship. For me, this is just a form of expressing my joy, of bringing glory to God, not to self. We dance (in the spirit) for several reasons.
I also dance in the spirit for celebration of victory over my spiritual battles. The tambourine is an instrument of warfare, especially in the spiritual world. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 30:32 that God fights our enemies to the sound of the tambourine. Every time we strike the tambourine, it is a direct blow to our enemy and that includes anything that the devil has a stronghold. The tambourine is like a double-edged sword in our hand, and therefore, as God’s children, we can achieve victory easily.
When we use the tambourine, lyres and/or other stringed instruments in dancing and in worship, we are redeeming those instruments for heavenly worship. When we worship in obedience to the scriptures, we give God the high praises from His perspective, and we receive power of a double-edged sword in our hands.
Dancing in the Spirit is also meant to edify the body of Christ and minister to the saints. It may even minister to the lost and unsaved, if God wants to use you that way. It must be Spirit-led, and not be a performance. It can direct the body to enter into that higher level place of worship.
God is a God of Order!
God is a God or order, not chaos. So when one spontaneously dances in the spirit with eyes closed and without bumping into nearby persons or objects, obviously he/she is under the power and guidance of the Spirit.
It is not right for people to run around, shouting or leaping, making unnecessary sounds sometimes. This is very undisciplined, chaotic and out of order. The Spirit’s movements through us are controlled, smooth and precise.
In my own experience, I can feel when the Spirit moves. There has to be anointing in the atmosphere first before I can dance. I was not born to be a ballerina, but my movements were so direct, precise and gentle as if I learned ballet dancing throughout my life. I do not have to dance all the time that there is anointing, but once the Spirit leads, I just follow. And I can use anything I have in my hand i.e., a shawl, a tambourine, a banner, a streamer, or even just my plain hands to interpret. Though I move in the spirit, I am aware of where I am. I don’t recall the steps but parts would come to me. It would be like the gift of knowledge or word of knowledge. The Spirit directs my steps, even when I use the tambourine. The Holy Spirit gives me the steps and hand movements I need for the dance. I am sometimes amazed when I strike the tambourine with good rhythm, timing it perfectly with the music, good coordination of hands, body and feet, and knows exactly when to stop once the dance reaches the finale steps.
The key is to be open and receptive to the Lord, to have a broken, humble and contrite heart before Him as a preparation before dancing and you will eventually become sensitive to His Spirit. You will know when the spirit moves you. One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control and that is why dance is disciplined or has a routine pattern that should be scriptural. One must reflect the joy and freedom to be in God’s control and presence. Dancing unto the Lord is a beautiful and meaningful experience. I used to undermine this dancing manifestation before I became a Christian, and even when I became a Christian, until I received this gift and experience it myself. I questioned whether it was from God, or a deception from the enemy. However, I received signs and confirmations that it was indeed from the Holy Spirit.
Based on what Scripture teaches there is no such thing as “dancing in the spirit” but we can dance with His Spirit. Maybe this is how this phrase should be coined instead. It is the same Spirit that is already dwelling in us who can move us to dance if we want to. We just have to invoke Its Presence. The Bible also tells us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Is this not the same thing when receiving God's Word? We must receive God's Promises into our spirit before His Word can produce a miracle in our life. Like seeds, God's Promises must be planted in our spirit; they will not grow if they are planted in our mind. It is not sufficient that we hear His promises with our natural ear and see these Promises manifested in our lives and the lives of others with our natural sight. Our spirit must be totally saturated with these Promises before we will be able to see the manifestation of our miracle.
So when one is prompted to dance before the Lord, he/she has saturated himself/herself with His Spirit. God is surely and constantly seeking those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. That is why there is absolutely nothing to fear or doubt about dancing before the Lord in spirit. The bible also tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and a sound mind." And if we doubt, “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).
Doubt is also one of the devil's tools. The devil definitely and continuously puts "doubt" in our minds, because the devil hates God's people worshipping the creator of heaven and earth. Lucifer, the fallen angel who was closest to God was the worship leader of heaven (Ezekiel 28:12-18), until pride consumed him and he formed rebellion together with at least a third of the other angelic hosts. Lucifer and his entourage were literally kicked out of heaven (Revelations 12:9). This left a void in the Kingdom of heaven, so God began to seek those who shall worship Him in spirit and in truth; I believe it pleases Him when His people praise and worship Him in whatever manner they prefer: praying, dancing, singing and music, rejoicing, shouting, lifting up their voices, kneeling, lifting hands, clapping hands, or simply giving thanks.
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The biblical account of David dancing before the Lord is not an example of dancing in the Spirit. Scripture says “David danced before the LORD with all his might (2 Sam. 6:14), thus describing the personal joy and thanksgiving that David consciously expressed to the Lord.
Go ahead and give God high praises. It is best if our praises outweigh our petitions. After all, God already knows our needs. For all we know, He already has the answers to our desires and petitions all lined up according to His holy plan. It pleases Him more and it gives Him great pleasure when we praise. Feel free to dance around your living room or in your sanctuary with a tambourine and music. There is power and victory in dancing unto the Lord!
"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." (Psalm 150:6)