Written by Carol Roland.
How do we worship God in our church services? How do other religions “worship?” Some have certain rituals they faithfully perform. They kneel, chant repetitious prayers, light candles and bring food or flowers to set before their “god.” Some prostrate themselves with heads touching the floor. But what do Bible-believing Christians do when we meet to worship the true and living God? We listen carefully to God’s Word, and give our tithes and offerings; but what do we do to worship? We sing! WE SING!
Singing has a big place in the Bible as a very important part of worship. Throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, you will find that when believers met together, they sang to God. We are to “come before his presence with singing” (Ps. 100:2 ). On the night before Christ’s crucifixion, the very last thing He and His disciples did together was sing a hymn. I have heard it said that music is the language of the soul. Our souls should be so full of gratitude and love for the Lord that they just overflow with song. We are to “[speak] to [our]selves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19).
Long ago, I attended a service at a large church with a friend of mine. After church, I asked her feelings about the service. She said it was good, but she had one observation that has stuck with me. In her town, there was only one small Bible-believing church, and when she saw the larger size of this church, she could hardly wait to join in with the congregational singing. So many voices all singing God’s praise would be thrilling and wonderful, she thought. But she was sorely disappointed. She wondered why the people weren’t excited about what they were singing. They were very halfhearted and seemed not to be focused or paying attention to what they were singing.
For about fifteen or twenty minutes in nearly every service, we have the priceless opportunity to worship our glorious God together by singing. What will we say to Him when He asks for an account of our worship?
I, too, have noted that many of us in the pews have blank faces during the song service. The words are being mouthed and sung, but it seems as though it is a bit mindless. There is no joy on the faces of many, no sincere thought or meaning in their eyes or countenance. It seems that singing is merely a habit without much meaning—a filler before the sermon. Is this worship? I think not. But, oh! It could be! If we sang those glorious words and meant them; if we thought about what we were saying; if we agreed in our hearts with the songwriter; it would show on our faces. It would lift our hearts to God. We would be enthusiastic and full of joy as we sing about our wonderful God and His great grace to us in salvation. Do we not have a great and tremendous God? People should see the joy of the Lord in us and in our worship. God would be magnified and truly worshipped! Where is our focus? Is it on self, or on God? Where is the worship, and where is the joy? What can we do to change this lukewarm spirit? Perhaps if we tried to memorize the words, we could sing to God even in the car or at home “making melody in [our] heart[s] to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). That would be worship!
“But I can’t sing very well,” some may say. Do you think God really cares about that? He looks on the heart. For about fifteen or twenty minutes in nearly every service, we have the priceless opportunity to worship our glorious God together by singing. What will we say to Him when He asks for an account of our worship? If we are going to be held accountable for every idle word, doesn’t that include the words in songs? Would God consider indifference when singing His name in song the same as taking His name in vain? Are we giving Satan an opportunity to gloat before God by our apathy?
I have been endeavoring to pay closer attention to the words and what they mean in the songs we sing. What a treasure of wisdom and truth can be found in those songs of faith! I have found them to be encouraging, sometimes convicting and always a reminder of how great our God truly is. And I am trying to worship God honestly in song. It is a joy, and my spirit feels refreshed by it. I know that God is pleased by our sincere praise. May you also find that to be true for you.
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3).
This article was published in the Fall 2015 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine, article title “Worship in Song”. Carol Roland lives with her son, Jonathan, in Denver, CO. Her husband, Ralph, went home to be with Jesus in July 2009. Together, they had 9 children, and and ever-growing number of grandchildren.
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