Monday, January 27, 2020

Do We Tell Lies or Just Sing Them?

Monday, January 27, 2020

Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,…”  Isaiah 29:13

Do We Tell Lies or Just Sing Them? 

Growing up in church I don’t know how many times I heard a Music Minister say, “Now, let’s sing it like we mean it!”  I guess an announced form of hypocrisy is better than trying to hide it but it certainly sounded strange.

One of the favorite hymns of the church is, Victory in Jesus, and it was written by E.M. Bartlett.  That old song contains some great words about our victory in Jesus, but it’s one thing to sing about victory in Jesus, and it’s all together something else, to live out that victory!!  I’m reminded of a quote from the late and great A.W. Tozer, who wrote, “Christians don’t tell lies, they just go to church and sing them!”  Sadly, I believe in some ways he’s right!!

The close of services in many Baptist churches is signaled by the “Invitation” where songs of commitment are sung.  I watched so many sing “Have Thine Own Way” or “I Surrender All” while they are straightening their clothes or gathering their belongings to be the first out the door.  Hypocrisy!?  Probably so.

For so many years I was a model Christian.  I did everything exactly as I had learned it from those before me.  I knew exactly how to act like a Christian.  I could tell you the number of almost 100 hymns in the Baptist OR Broadman hymnal and sing verses 1,2, & 4 of most of those hymns from memory.  I could almost quote the Church Covenant that was printed in the back of the hymnal and posted on the wall just above the numbers who attended in Bible study and what they gave.  It wasn’t until sometime later that I learned the definition of a model…A small imitation of the real thing.

I have now come to the place where when they sing “Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion” I have a wince a little.  I really don’t know whether that “Ol’ Time Religion” was good for me.  I know it certainly taught me a lot about God and that has really been good.  Keeping up with the disciplines of reading my Bible, nightly prayers, giving my tithe, etc. made it able to check all the boxes on the Eight-point record system on my weekly envelope.  I met missionaries and went to two-week-long Revivals sometimes multiple times a year.  But…no one ever taught me about the presence of God within me in the person of the Holy Spirit or that God wanted more then just for me not to sin but to know Him in an intimate relationship.  We sang a lot of songs every Sunday and enjoyed singing them.  But somehow, I don’t know that our singing was matched by our commitment.

I guess that is why some of the Contemporary Christian Music has awakened me to the experience of saying something more than once and dwelling on a thought longer than one phrase; letting it sink in and repeating it as it deepens in my heart and broadens in my spirit.  It’s way different than what I grew up on and I will probably always treasure the hymns of faith, but I have found a new appreciation for worship-filled praise and not just songs of worship.

God longs to hear His creation praise Him from their spirit!  Next time you sing in church, don’t just, “Sing it LIKE you mean it.”  Sing it out of a spirit filled with a love for God and His Son!

Scripture to Claim: I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.  Psalms 145:1-4 NASB

Van Houser

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