How many people know why hymns (or any songs) are sung in worship? And more importantly, how many of them are prepared to sing in a way that will delight the Lord?
The outward command to worship comes from God himself, whose very nature demands our praise. The inner compulsion emerges from hearts full of gratitude and love toward God.
God initiated worship. If He had not first revealed Himself to His people throughout history, we would not know who He is, what He has done, or how He is to be worshiped. You see, God acted first. This idea is symbolized in corporate worship when a “worship leader” issues a call from God to worship Him. God is there before the worshipers arrive, waiting to invite them into His presence.
Worship is two-sided. God acts first, then humanity answers. God reveals, then humanity responds. Worship can never be a passive observation of the pastor and choir/praise team. Worshipers are not spectators, but are active participants working in their service of praise.
Worship is an action word. It is an activity that requires preparation, attention, understanding, and exertion. The goal isn’t for us to get something out of it. God is supposed to get something out of the service; songs are to be sung for God’s enjoyment.
Why do you worship?
Amidst the “Worship Wars” that churches have been going through for over 30 years, let’s be clear that Scripture addresses our question at hand. What kind of music does God like? God likes music with the following components:
- Skill: God does not appreciate poorly written or sloppily performed music (1 Chronicles 25:7; Psalm 33:3).
- Volume: God commands us to shout for joy (Psalm 33:3). What will be the volume level of the mass choir described in Revelation?
- Joy: The Psalmist exhorts us to sing for joy (Psalm 33:1).
- Creativity: The creativity of God is mirrored in the men and women who have ability to create beautiful musical sounds and to use them for praise.
- Participation: Musical praise is not for isolated individuals alone. It is a corporate activity (1 Chronicles 23:5; Colossians 3:16).
- Motivation: This involves the heart of the worshiper. We may have all of the above but if the songs are not offered with love in the heart for Jesus Christ, the exercise is futile.
What kind of music do you think God likes?
I have no problem being demonstrative in my worship. My audience is God. But I do struggle with teaching others to do the same. Because I know it’s uncomfortable at first. But it’s so freeing soon after.
We have to worship with more than our mind. It reflects our “whole worship” of living for God in all areas of our life. Raising my hands in particular is meaningful to me because that is how I say (while I’m singing or listening) with my body, “I need You Lord. I depend on You. Like a child is dependent on a parent, I long for Your care, Your provision.” It’s not to impress other people. Frankly I don’t want it to distract someone else so I probably do it less than I want to or feel like it. What do you think?