With all this talk on this blog about the Word being central to our lives, I cannot help but share my heart about worship music. Music that is devoted to God for His glory, our joy, and our edification.
What has been ignored by some on both sides of the Worship Wars battle that has raged on for generations is that the words are a much bigger deal then the style will ever be. I say some because there are those who have been focusing on the words that they sing over all else. One such ministry is Sovereign Grace. They have done a great job at worshiping in spirit and truth, and making their music available for use to anyone who has a passion for God’s glory.
As mentioned, we must be worshiping God in spirit and truth and being focused on His glory, and our joy and edification. What does that mean?
Speaking of music, but intending it for all life, our worship of God must be glorifying Him! That may seem obvious, but it has been poorly accomplished by many musicians around the world. If God is not the main character, so to speak, of the song, then we have no reason to sing it and call it worship of Him. However, this does not forbid us from singing other songs that may or may not mention Him. A rule of thumb then would be to only sing songs in corporate worship focused on the redeeming work of Christ, the empowering of His Spirit, and/or the work of The Father. Outside of this corporate worship, we may sing songs that don’t worship God, but if they are pointing away from Him as the ultimate hope of salvation, they have no right to be sung by us in any context.
Our Joy and Edification:
This does not mean that we always sing songs that make us happy. In this context, our joy (a consistently cheerful outlook in any circumstance, even in mourning) cannot be synonymous with happiness (a momentary response to a good circumstances). Consider these great lyrics:
I need thee every hour most gracious Lord; no tender voice like thine can peace afford… I need thee every hour; stay thou nearby temptations lose their power when thou art nigh… I need thee every hour in joy or pain; come quickly and abide or life in vain… I need thee, oh I need thee, every hour I need thee. Oh bless me now my Savior I come to thee.
How much happiness is in that? In contrast, how much joy?
In addition to that, we need to be building up believers with our worship. So lyrics, words, teachings, and anything else that is not based in the Scriptures essentially have no place in our worship services. This is difficult for me to say, because there are songs that I truly love and enjoy singing but have no edifying benefit to the Church.
In our worship, we must be leaving people in wonder of our God, and not wondering who He is.
Let us not leave the person of Christ open for discussion by sacrificing truth for emotions.