In a recent post of mine, I shared how singing praises to God is one of my greatest joys and also how God Himself sings. Sadly, it has become apparent to me that not all my Christian brothers and sisters share the same enthusiasm for singing praises to our King. As a member of my local church’s worship team, Sunday after Sunday, I see some members of the congregation not participating in the singing at all (though I try not to focus on the congregation as my purpose is to focus on God in my song). They just stand there and stare out into who-knows-where as if they are just waiting for the song to end. I even had someone recently suggest to me that we not sing at all during corporate worship for one Sunday!
I find all this unsettling. I can only speculate why these people do not hold singing to God in such high regard as God Himself does. Perhaps they have never really put any real effort into it. I admit, my joy in singing to God is not something that happened overnight. For me, it grew from a sense of, “this is as opportunity to worship God” into “this is a wonderful and joyful privilege to worship God in song”; and it grew more over time. I found that, the more effort I put into it, the more the Spirit blessed me with joy and desire for praising God with my voice.
Another possibility is perhaps they haven’t considered what God’s word says about singing praises to Him. The Bible is filled with over 400 references to singing and more than 50 direct commands to sing; many of which command us not only to sing but to do so with joy and gladness. I feel as though it would be profitable to look at some of those scriptures.
First, here are direct commands in scripture to sing praises to God:
1 Chronicles 16:9
Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
1 Chronicles 16:23
Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day.
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
I think that last verse made it quite clear: sing praises, sing praises, sing praises, sing praises! Next, I have found how joy and singing praises are so directly related. This truth is emphasized in scripture. Here are some scripture verses that directly relate joy and singing:
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing!
I believe that these are not only commands to sing with joy in our hearts but also indicators that tell us how we can experience joy in Christ through singing praises to Him. This has certainly been my experience. As I sing, or even anticipate singing, the Spirit gives me great joy as I seek to glorify God in song; which brings me to my next point. Scripture even illustrates for us how being filled with the Spirit and the Word are directly related to singing praises:
…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart
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.
Isn’t this wonderful? One of the best and greatest ways we can express being filled with the Spirit is by singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs! And one of the most effective ways we can fill our hearts and minds with the Word is to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs! One of my favorite quotes that I have heard recently comes from Bob Kauflin:
“Christians sing because they can’t help but sing. I think the truths of the Christian faith are so great, they can’t be contained in words, they have to break forth into song.”
Here is a brief video of Bob Kauflin. He is answering the question: Why does God want us to sing?:
I can still only speculate why some Christians haven’t embraced singing as a key part of their worship of and walk with God. I would like to think that perhaps they just haven’t discovered it yet and they will eventually. I can only plead this plea with my brothers and sisters in Christ: Sing praises to God! God wants to hear His children sing to Him! You may have a number of reasons why you don’t sing or why you don’t value it but I plead with you to give it an honest effort. It doesn’t matter if you have a good voice or not. It doesn’t matter if you don’t experience the same joy in singing as I do at first, but I promise you that you will if you give it an honest try and ask God to use His Spirit to put the song into your heart. And when He does, you will not be able to contain it! You will have no other course of action to take but to joyfully burst forth in song!
Soli Deo Gloria!