Louie Giglio said “Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God, for who He is and what He has done, expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.”
I love music. I guess that is not difficult to believe since my name is Melodye. Lately, I’ve posted many song lyrics on my Facebook status. Music is ONE way I express what I feel, think, and purpose. I believe music is from God. Songs of praise are referred to throughout the Bible. There is even a whole book dedicated to songs of God’s people. In the Greek, “Psalms” refers to “songs sung to a plucked instrument, like a harp.” The shepherd boy and king of Israel, David, used the songs/poems as an expression to God of his many emotions. When I open the scripture, and read some of his songs, I am amazed at his honesty and sometimes erratic emotions, expressed through his words.
Like David, I often turn to songs to stir something in me … to challenge me, to encourage me, to console me, to uplift me, to move me, and yes, even convict me. I especially like the psalms because they are actually inspired songs right from God Himself. Paul tells us in the letter he wrote to Timothy that all scripture is God-breathed. But I admit that I listen to music many other artists (not divinely inspired by God) have composed. I attempt to fill my mind and soul with music that is truth-based, though. There are many musicians who God has equipped with amazing abilities to share lyrics that teach us great truths. With these lyrics, are tunes that also touch us deeply. The sounds, the instrumentation, the notes, the tunes … music that reaches deep places in us. I love music.
But there is one thing I’ve learned in these years of singing and listening to wonderful music. Music ≠ Worship! As I think about what Louie Giglio says about worship, it reminds me that authentic worship is done through my life, not just my songs. Music is a great way to express my worship, but it is only ONE way. In fact, when the bible refers to worship, it’s very rarely associated with singing/music. Most often, biblical worship refers to obedience and holy lives lived before God. Yet in the modern church, we predominantly use the word “worship” when we actually mean “sing.” Without intending to, we communicate that worship happens only during the singing. When in fact, that’s only the beginning!
Worship actually happens when a true worshipper acknowledges the God who created and redeemed them and then responds to that awareness. The nursery worker worships God through taking care of children, if it’s an authentic obedience to God through their service. The Sunday school teacher with an obedient spirit is worshipping as he or she teaches the children or students. The sound guy. The one running the Power Point. The ushers. The greeters. The learner. The teacher. The song leader and musicians. Every act of obedience, committed with a genuine heart directed to Jehovah, is biblical worship.
Lately, I have been attempting to cease in saying “worship” when I really mean “singing.” Singing is about the songs. Worship is about the Sovereign. My prayer is that my songs WILL include a heart of worship. But the truth is, corporate singing takes place in my life for only about 10 minutes in a given week (except when I go to choir practice). If that’s all the worship I do, I doubt my week will mean much in the scheme of things – like the eternal.
I love music. But I love my Creator, Redeemer and Friend much more. He is so very worthy of my songs. He is most worthy of my worship – daily surrender and obedience. If the music fades. If all is stripped away, and I simply come. I long to bring something of worth to bless God …. more than just a song.
… in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship.