The Fight for Joy (Not Criticism) in Worship

The tradition of worship in the church far exceeds any of us. Worship is historically rooted in the Bible. Many of the New Testament authors mention how we should sing “praise” with Psalms and hymns.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” Acts 16:25

“addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” Ephesians 5: 19

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3: 16

Its evident that worship is not something that was created to occupy time in church on a Sunday, or as something to make money off of in the record store (God uses both of those ways to reach His people).

Worship is biblical. Worship is a way for God’s people to sing of the overflowing joy he has given them. It’s a response to what God is doing in our lives through his word. Now here is the hard part, most of us get that worship is much more than music, at least we would say that we do. Worship is the expression of our reverence and adoration for God. However, when it comes to Sunday morning we tend to be far more worried about what songs are going to be sung, what style of music is going to be played, and whether the lead singer is wearing the right clothes or singing on pitch. We drop the ball when it comes to “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (emphasis added).

Too often I fall into this trap. I love music, I love worship, and I love watching those whom God gifted with musical talents, whether that is on a church stage or at a secular venue. Sometimes though, I love the music too much and the worship too little. It’s an easy temptation to fall into. We come into worship with a consumer mindset, just like we come to any other song/music. Services like Pandora, iTunes, Songify, and others have created a consumer mentality about music and that has spilled into our times with the Lord through worship. It’s a tough battle to fight, but one we must fight nonetheless.

So what should our response be to worship? Let’s first remember that worship is our expression of adoration for God. We worship because of what God has done for us through Jesus. We don’t worship to merely sing songs and play musical instruments. Worship should be a time to rejoice in our savior, praise the God that loves us, and join with God’s children in song too Him. It’s a time to glorify God; it’s a time to respond to His grace in our lives.

If you think about worship, the act of worshiping God through hymns and and spiritual songs is truly a joy. This isn’t something that our generation is doing (like hip-hop and rap), it’s something that has lasted the test of time, like Jesus and the Bible, and we get to join in it together. It’s a great feeling on a Sunday, or Tuesday at Veritas, when a collective body, the Church is singing and glorifying God together.

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