Singing Songs We Don't Mean

When it comes to worship music, I like high flying, intense, anthems filled with words of surrender and devotion. Some people have questioned this type of worship – “it’s too passionate, too big for real life” they say. Perhaps those people are simply expressing what many of us refuse to -- that there is often a gaping disconnect for us as we leave worship services between the words we sing and the lives we lead. Why do we sing with such urgency and then seek such trivial things? Why are these important words so heavy on our lips and so light on our hearts? Jesus proclaimed such was true of some of the leaders around him: “these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. If you truly listen to many of the songs we sing, you could honestly step back and wonder whether we should really be singing them so often. Is it possible that we are actively sinning as we sing to God if our hearts don't line up with our words? And is it possible that people actually believe these things every time they sing them?
In the olden days there was a place set aside for worship: the temple. This building was revered and was at the center of the rhythm of worship. People would gather there twice daily for sacrifices and prayer. There was one room in that temple set aside as more holy than the others; it was called the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies. The Spirit of God dwelt in this room and no one was allowed to enter – except one man, once a year. But when Jesus died, the gospel writers tell us that the curtain that separated this room from the others was torn in two. Literally, the wall that kept people out of the presence of God was destroyed. Then, after the resurrection, the Spirit of God actually comes to live inside of the followers. This is an incredible shift.

Paul explains how monumental a shift this was and how it negated the need for the temple in Ephesians 2. You and I, he says, are now the temple of God. The apostles and the prophets are the foundation (scripture), Jesus is the cornerstone (the first stone set that holds all the others in place), and we are the stones built one upon another. We are being built together into a living building where worship happens continually. Imagine if you will, the power of a gathering of one thousand people who are full of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, joining with one voice in worship to our King. Imagine if those people were truly led by the Holy Spirit and were continually devoted to the mission He gave us to continue His work and proclaim His kingdom. Would our worship services look different? Would our house churches look different? Would our families, neighborhoods, and friendships look different? If this same HOLY Spirit is truly at work inside out hearts, should we not be able to live in a way that reflects the intensity of the words we sing?

Do you know God? Have you taken the time to consider His power and majesty? Do you believe in the imminent eternal reign of His kingdom? Are you living as a son or daughter of the King even now? And are you seeking His will daily? Are you inviting others to become children of the King? How you answer these questions has everything to do with your worship posture.

Worship is a response – it cannot be manufactured or produced. And the truth is that many of us don’t have any reference point for responding to God because we don’t know Him. Many of us aren't led by the Spirit of God, so we don't function as sons and daughters of God. Weekend worship services become quite stale if the room is full of people who are interacting with God for the first time all week – who know of Him but aren’t intimately connected with Him as Father. In this case, it is possible that the church's biggest sin is standing before God claiming that we are willing to surrender everything we have in pursuit of Him when we actually aren't. This is an indication that we have a heart condition that needs fixed.

On the other hand, I’ve been in rooms where it was obvious that it was a gathering of people who had come together from their various contexts of ministry, having devoted themselves to seeking the Kingdom of God all week in that context, and excited to respond corporately to all the work their Father had accomplished around and through them. You can’t beat it.


  1. Make my life a prayer to You
    I want do what You want me to
    No empty words and no white lies
    No token prayers no compromise

    I want shine the light You gave
    Through Your Son you sent to save us
    From ourselves and our despair
    It comforts me to know You're really there...

    'Make My Life a Prayer'
    Sung by Keith Green

    Also, check out 'Asleep in the Light' by Keith Green



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