Song, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Aldous Huxley

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” Billy Joel

Music, is there is anything so controversial as music??? Really.. Think about it; you have country, rock, blues, metal, soft rock, folk, and death-metal, each attracting those whose hearts are beating with that sound, that message.  Nothing stirs the heart and engages the Mind like music.  Think, how many songs can you sing? Can you remember, “Row Row Row your Boat?” How about, “I’m a little Tea Pot?” Even though you haven’t sung those songs in years, maybe 10’s of years, you still hear the melody, remember the words. I still recall back in Jr High the bands and artists like Michael Jackson, Stryper, Poison, and others I use to listen to. Songs like “Billy Jean,” “Beat It,” “Thriller,”  Stryper’s “to Hell with the Devil” and others.. When I hear them today it still brings back all the memories and I can still sing almost every word.

Someone asked Rich Mullins, a great musician and missionary,  after he said he hated the way he sounded, “Why do you sing then?” His response was classic, “No other commandment is given more than to Sing.. How many sermons can you quote from start to finish? Now, how many songs and hymns can you remember?”

Music is powerful. It’s arousing. It stimulates all our whole being, mind, body, and soul. Our Spirit is awakened to something deep down that we have hid, or we have covered up. Emotions are brought to the surface. We unabashedly let out that which is closest to our hearts. Music has been used to stir soldiers up for war, building up anger and rage to fight and drive out the enemy. It has been and still is used for reflection and mediation, calming the nerves and soothing the pangs of life. Music also breeds a sense of  romance and love, leaving the heart asking for more; pronging us to go beyond ourselves and feel more than we have allowed.

The Bible says “the Power of life and Death are in the tongue,” and if our tongues are activated in music, which carries “an explosion of humanity,”  it will touch the hardest hearts, heal the broken hearted, and set free them that are bound and shackled with the cares of this world ..  So we are encouraged,  “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,” Ephesians 5:19

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

Spiritually, we need to capture the whole heart and soul of Music. We need to not change it or “Church it up” to fit our style, or make it sound holy, but capture the beat, the rhythm, and energy for what it was created to do… TO MOVE US Beyond ourselves.. Though lyrics and themes can be demonic and perverse  Satan didn’t create the rhythm or the beat, for Satan can create nothing, but only twist that which was created by God. He is a deceiver! But.. When we take that which God created, all the styles, forms and rhythms, and turn it with our hearts toward heaven we will find that we are really only touching the fringe of His robe.

Let us take the hard bass beat and turn it into our War Cry as we march around our Jericho. Let it quicken, arouse, and fill us so  we walk with boldness and confidence into the enemy’s camp.  As with David, we will face the darkness with an assurance of something greater than ourselves is fighting for us. ” Though a Host encamp against me I will not fear. Though war rise against me I shall be confident.” Psalms 27

When we use music for mediation, our hearts reflect on the God who is “more than enough.”  We can leave behind all the chaos, noises, and voices screaming out our failures and defeats, and we can rest in the assurance of “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We give our minds rest, our spirits are refueled, and life is breathed in to us. Then as David sang, I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” Psalms 34

See, for too long the church has been about Hymns and there is nothing wrong with them, but what about all the other songs and styles? “With psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,” ?? What do we do with this? Ignore it most of the time. Run from it when it’s brought up. Debate it, maybe.. Explore it?? Very rarely!

What music has done in a lot of cases is separate us. We don’t mingle with people who don’t worship like we do. We refuse to get out of our comfort zone to engage others where they are. We have done this in most of our Christian walk. If people will conform to us, look like us, talk like us, come to us on our terms, then we will have a place for them in our congregation.  How many church splits or fights have started over the type of music? Why is it so controversial? Why does satan use this as a tool to stir such strife? I believe it’s to keep us away from that which draws us near to God. You think satan wants us listening to music that stirs up the warrior inside of us so that we will charge the gates of hell with a water-pistol? You think he wants us using reflective music to draw our minds in to Christ?  What about Spiritual songs?? You think he’s ok with setting our Spirits free to worship in Spirit and in Truth? No!! The World around us knows that each genre of music moves the heart, mind, emotions and spirits of people. Hollywood knows this, and banks on it. So does Disney. They use music to arouse fear, suspense, and heightened awareness. Music adds emotions and sets the mind for what’s next in the movie or show, and to draw the people in. Now, what if we took that same approach in our worship services? What if we had all these elements equipping the saints for service?

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
Nowhere do we see God judging styles and rhythms? No where are we to promote one group over the next, but this is what we have done.  Sure, we may have our preferences, but that does not justify our condemnation of others. Let us lay aside all the prejudices and judgments, and let us seek the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. Let us not Worship Him on this mountain or that building, but with a sincere heart..

Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”  Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4: 21-24)