A LIFESTYLE OF WORSHIP
The New Testament gives little instruction regarding the
use of music in the life of a person and the church.
Rather, biblical instruction centers on character
development that results in a lifestyle of worship.
The song is important but becomes secondary to the
more important shape of an individual's inner health. As
an example, singing about placing faith in God is full of
integrity and value when individuals believe and exercise
this fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
Does this conclude that we must be perfect to sing? The
answer is obviously "no". As in the case of the
psalmists, we are not fully developed in our character but
we must actively address any inconsistencies between
what we sing and how we live. The song is an expression
of the inner man not the other way around. While we
must perfect the skills and abilities that God has placed
in us to sing or play music, we must equally, if not more
so, seek the development of the character of Jesus.
Dallas Willard, in his book, "Renovation of the Heart"
says, "the life we live out in our moments, hours, days
and years wells up from a hidden depth. What is in our
heart matters more than anything else for who we
become and what becomes of us."
It's not just a matter of singing about faith. The action of
faith must be exercised (no matter how weak or new) for
the song of faith to have meaning. Words mean
something. They are expressions of the inner man.
Deep within us, we all intuitively understand this. Have
you ever become a part of a quarrel with your family
before a worship service? Was it easy to worship
moments later or did it affect your ability to worship?
Without restoration, singing praise and worship to God is
Jesus taught in Matthew 5:23,24 that our offerings must
follow the integrity of the inner man. "If therefore you
are presenting your offering at the altar, and there
remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your offering there before the altar and go your
way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come
and present your offering."
In fact, God so desires the inner man's character to
precede the song that he stopped one worship service!
"Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not
even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll
down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing
stream" (Amos 5:23-24) God sees it all! Our songs don't
impress him no matter how beautiful they sound if our
hearts are not right! And it is God we want to impress
with our song, isn't it? Do we want God to say to us,
"away with the noise of your worship"?
With humility and introspection we can come before
Almighty God. We can make his praise glorious as living
sacrifices. After all, that is our reasonable worship.
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