“Songs of worship arise from a life of worship.” – Tim Hughes
I think about the totally fun movie Toy Story 2. One of the toys, Squeaky Penguin, has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust because the kids have forgotten about him. As a result, his voice box has become filled with dust and he wheezes when he talks. But during the course of the movie, the boy’s mom finds a new squeaker for the poor penguin and by the end of the movie, he sounds like a brand-new toy. Filled with joy, he tells the other toys, “In fact, I think I feel a song coming on!” He then proceeds to sing a jazzed-up version of the movie’s theme song.
Squeaky reminds us that immense feelings shouldn’t remain bottled up inside. When we experience life in its fullness, we will eventually feel the need to express that feeling in some way.
Such is the case with worshiping God in song and music. I listened to many people this week tell me that they are convinced that music has a special power that other forms of expression do not. Singing is both transformative and joyous. Psalm 81 starts, “Sing for joy to God our strength, shout joyfully to the God of Jacob!” The psalm commissions Israel to hold a festival with joyful song and music to celebrate God’s ongoing deliverance of His children from oppression and strife. The part that struck me when reading it was that God wants us to sing to Him who is our strength. I think that there is more there than just the truth that God provides strength. I believe that God often provides strength to those who sing to Him! The singing in and of itself is a source of divine strength.
The Bible is full of commandments and encouragements to sing to God. He understands singing in a way that we often do not. Some people sing better than others. Some are gifted in music. They write songs and give emotionally stirring performances. Those who don’t have that ability convince themselves that they are not supposed to sing. Some have even told me that their singing would be unpleasant to God. The problem is that this line of thinking is in direct contradiction to what God seems to be saying to us.
When you totally surrender your life to God, focus completely on Him and His word, and devote yourself to living as Christ did, you will find that expressing your feelings about the life God has given you will be irresistible. Furthermore, you will find that singing (even if you do not have a performance-worthy voice) can do all sorts of great things in your life. Expressing yourself in song is like taking powerful medicine, and God calls us to do it.
My advice: open your mouth and sing to the Lord God who is your strength. Offer your whole self as a living sacrifice to Him and expressing yourself will become like second nature. As you dwell on the goodness of God and all that He has provided, you too will feel a song coming on.