Making Music

By John A. White
Contributing Writer
August 29, 2019


Read more from John A. White
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord (Eph 5:19)

We walk a fine line when we talk about worship. Clearly there are theological traps to avoid that focus our attention to other than God or that limit worship expressions. While you don’t want to needlessly limit worshipful expressions, you neither want to give license to excesses that are less than truthful and spiritual expressions of worship of the Most Holy One (Jn 4:23). Paul, having seen several abuses, responded to them by writing practical guidelines for public worship. His advice is timeless, transcends culture and time and is based in what James calls the “Royal Law” (Jam 2:8). Paul says, regarding public worship, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (NIV, 1Cor 8:9) and “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (NIV, Rom 14:19). Under these guidelines, we can improve the depth of our worship by:

Regular fasting and prayer because it strengthens our faith and prepares us to encourage someone whose faith is weak. In fasting and prayer, we learn to sing the song of faith and dedication in the midst of want, need and suffering.

Preparing before every church meeting we attend. This will insure we have a contrite and circumspect spirit. In these moments of quietness, examination, and stillness, we revere His Lordship by listening to both His “still small voice” and, if He chooses, His silence. We shout “He is Lord” when we wait in silent stillness.

Because, our church is most importantly a place most densely populated with divine appointments, we need to come to church prepared for and anticipating ministry to others in the same way we anticipate and prepare to meet our friends. “’My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work’” (NIV, Jn 4:34). We were created to minister to one another. Just as the telephone, light-bulb and the theory of relativity brings glory to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, our obedience to our daily ministry brings honor to our Creator.

Have you noticed Matt 5:23-24 does not give much wiggle room? No matter the reason or the validity of someone’s complaint against us, we are to pursue peace with God’s family. This includes our preferences of worship music style, dance or clapping. It means how loud we sing, if we lift our hands or whether we kneel in holy adoration. It includes our attitudes that weaken or destroy fellowship and our personalities that can be naturally abrasive. It means we are not to judge worship but rather participate in worship of the One to whom it’s due. Our worship expressions must be judged by the values, traditions and priorities of our faith community. An attitude of love and service to all, especially those whom we offend, is an offering that’s paid in love and humility to Christ’s body (1 Chr 21:24).

Madonna’s right; we live in a materialistic world. People sense their value is in what they produce or can earn. But the worshipful life transformation liberates us from materialistic bondage to hilariously generosity by placing our inherent value in God’s valuation of us (Ps 65:4, Jn 15:16). The starting place is acting upon the grace of freedom we have already received, not waiting for the desire. The value and security of our lives are not our bank accounts. Therefore we are free to give. Do our checkbooks represent this freedom? Similarly we are valued because we are God’s children, not by what we produce. There is no Biblical command, “Thou shall fill every moment of every day.” In fact, the command is “You shall keep the Sabbath and keep it holy.” (Ex 20:8, Deut 5:12). We are free to rest. Do our schedules represent freedom and holy rest? When is the last time you had a long period of holy time with God? God has given both time and money; it’s our responsibility to worshipfully and respectfully to return a portion back to God and use what we can of the balance to further His work. In this way, we redeem God’s gifts (Jer. 15:19) for His glory and work.

God’s holy accounting does not stop with materialistic things; these are God’s tools to teach us to give ourselves to our family in Christ. Paul says he was “poured out like a drink offering” (2 Tim 4:6) to the Church. We are to serve one another (John 13:14). Love, even at personal sacrifice, should characterize our relationships (John 13:35). We are to consider ourselves indebted to love each other (Rom 13:8). We are to prefer others to ourselves (Rom 12:10). We are promote unity in the body (1 Cor 1:10); this marks spiritual maturity (Ep 4:11-13).

I hear someone saying, “You haven’t talked about the kind of worship I enjoy yet, the kind that gives me goose-bumps” and you’re right because worship is not a Sunday morning or Wednesday night event or a commodity – such notions are idolatrous. Worship is the result of God’s loving and transforming power on our hearts, souls and minds and it is measured by our actions towards people. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Could it be that we deepen our worship by enriching all the people in our lives and especially our brothers and sisters? If so, then the question of improving our worship is not “Where can I find the best worship service?” but rather, “How do I deepen my spiritual well and do better at dispensing the living water it contains?”

Every kind act, every moment spent with another, every sacrifice of money, time or ourselves for the good of someone else, every warm touch that eases loneliness and pain, every affirming glance to those needing encouragement and every time we listen rather than speak, every good deed done in Christ’s name, is another note in the melody of our worship to God. To Him be all the Glory!









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