Have you ever considered that worship music may be more of a reaction as opposed to an action? We sing songs because it’s part of what we were made to do in Christ Jesus, not because of anything that we’ve done. God sent Jesus so that we could worship Him (i.e. give Him glory) through music, work, family and every other facet of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
That truth has dramatically changed my outlook on worship. I just took the longest “vacation” from leading worship music that I ever have since starting this job; two Sundays off. Crazy right? In the grand scheme of things, not leading worship music for two Sundays isn’t a big deal (there are 52 Sundays a year unless there’s a leap year), but it was a much needed and timely refresher for me.
I’m constantly fighting animatronic tendencies. Do you know what I mean? When you do the same thing, at the same time, every week, authenticity can start to dwindle. Eventually you could end up feeling like one of those creepy robot children from “It’s A Small World” at Disneyland. Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.
I think all of us are tempted to do “the robot” when it comes to worship music at one time or another. Either that or we just become apathetic and do nothing. During one of my Sundays “off” (last week actually), I started doing some litmus tests on my heart during the service. What keeps me from becoming Mr. Roboto during Sunday morning worship music experiences, or on any other day of the week? Is it my job, my surroundings, my feelings or people? I don’t think so. All of those things are too fickle; they’d make a rocky foundation. I’ve been reminded that everything and everyone will fade away but God, who He is and what He has done, is everlasting (Matthew 24:35). Jesus is the reason we worship. Jesus is the reason we sing.
Jesus died to make us new (Ephesians 2:4-6) and part of that new life in Him is exemplified through our singing (Psalm 13:6, Psalm 96). When we recognize our state apart from Him and remember His grace as displayed on the cross, we have a cause to sing. Worship music is created and done in reaction to what Jesus has already done. It’s like when the Chargers fumble the football near the end of the fourth quarter. Your yelling at the TV is a reaction to what they’ve done.
In some cases, reactions are somewhat optional. Like when your brother ruins the ending of Star Wars: Episode VII for his friend, you have the option to either react with laughter or anger. I do not believe that this is case with worship. As new creations in Christ Jesus, we must worship because that’s what we were made to do (Colossians 3:4-10). Worship is an affirmation of our new life in Him. Singing doesn’t save us, but it absolutely affirms our newness as does any other form of worship (James 2:14-16).
Consider our iPhones (if you don’t have one, either you did or will at some point). Our iPhones make calls, send texts, play videos, run our lives, etc. because that’s what they were made to do. When they freeze (or blow up like the Galaxy Note 7), that’s when we know there’s a problem and we take it back to Apple for reconfiguration.
Perhaps you’re in need of some reconfiguration, like I was. Maybe you need to take some time to litmus test your own heart to see whether or not it’s on autopilot. This weekend we’re remembering Jesus’ sacrifice by taking communion. What a great opportunity for us all to remember, as a church family, why we gather and strive to live differently. May our eyes be fixed heavenward as we exalt the name of Jesus. May He receive all glory forever and ever amen.