We enjoy singing. It’s fun. Music plays a big part in our lives and we take satisfaction in using it to express our hearts and as a tool to explore our relationships with God. It’s good for us. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing connects us to one another. It’s an activity we do together that is an important part of the glue of what we do when we gather. It’s an expression of our identity and our relationship with one another. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing is a way of serving the Lord. We honor Him by doing our part in providing the congregation with an environment, an opportunity, and an invitation to worship our King. We honor Him by setting aside our pride and trying to model worship and to be willing to make ourselves vulnerable by showing others our hearts as we interact with Him publicly. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing impacts my mind. The lyrics of songs teach profound truths about God. Songs reinforce biblical values and are part of transforming our minds by moving our thoughts beyond ourselves to focus upon Jesus. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing is a way of our giving back to God. It’s part of our sacrifice of praise that we prepare and offer to the Lord. Through it we express recognition and thanksgiving to our Creator and Redeemer. Preparing an offering of music is like raising the sacrificial lamb to present at the altar as a special gift that each of us give personally to the Lord. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing is a form of prayer. The songs provide us with a vocabulary to express and explore who God is and to declare what He is doing in our lives. Moments during a song when we are not singing provide little pauses to pray our own thoughts to the Lord and to listen to what He has to say. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing is tied to the promises of God. God promises to show up in a special way when we gather in His name according to His purposes. He literally “indwells” the praises of His people. He promises to draw near to us as we draw near to Him. Scripture ties music to spiritual and physical freedom from bondage, to healing, miracles, repentance, and other holy actions by the Lord. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing impacts my body. It forces us to become physically involved when we express worship. This reminder of our own weakness and flesh is another part of giving ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing is something the Bible commands us to do. We are far more often commanded to sing that almost anything else in the Bible. God built us to sing; we are designed for it. He invented music before He even created us, and we are specially crafted so that it powerfully impacts us as well as the spiritual realm. When we sing, we obey God’s command. But that’s not why we sing.
Singing affects our emotions. Music bypasses our mental filters and stirs our passion. It challenges us to arise from the depths of our emotional slumber and coldness, fanning the flames of our hearts to burn brightly for the Lord. But that’s not why we sing.
Worship is one of the few things that we know goes on in Heaven. It’s powerful enough to shake Heaven’s very gates. Music accompanied many major events in the Bible. It led God’s people forward in battle. Even Jesus’ birth was announced through song, as will be His triumphant return. But that’s not why we sing.
Why do we sing? One simple reason. God deserves our praise. This is good and right and true. But worshiping the Lord is something that we each must decide to do for ourselves. We choose to sing. How dare we arrogantly decide that He should not receive something that He declares He wants? Do we know better than He does whether the noise we make is good enough when He says it is? Who are we to judge our worship – when that right belongs only to Him.
We must not withhold from the Lord the glory that is due to Him from ourselves.
That’s why we sing.
About the author: TJ Miller serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts at Walloon Lake Community Church, a multi-campus church in northern Michigan. He loves to see people become equipped to be successful in ministry. For a glimpse into his ministry approach, check out “WLCC Worship Arts Team Manual” available from www.thebookpatch.com.