This series of articles has been devoted to examining Biblical
ways of spending time with God. In this article, we will consider
spending time with God in song. Immediately you may think about
singing in a church service. But, singing is commanded to each individual
Christian for the benefit of self and other Christians. Singing
should not be reserved for church services alone, but should constantly
fill our hearts with thoughts of heaven, praise, and thanksgiving.
Christians are commanded to sing. This command is as binding as
any other, but it may be one of the most neglected aspects of daily
Christian living. Jesus gave us an example. After having instituted
the Supper that would memorialize His death, He and the apostles
sang a hymn (Matt. 7:30). Paul also leaves us an example. When beaten
and imprisoned in the "inner prison" with Silas, Paul
and Silas are praying and singing hymns at midnight with their feet
fastened in stocks (Acts 16:16-25). What did the apostle and Silas
do in times of great trial, tribulation, and persecution? They prayed
and sang hymns.
In Colossians 3:16 we read: "Let the word of Christ dwell
in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your
hearts to the Lord." In this passage we have the command for
Christians to sing. But, also notice the importance of singing in
relationship to daily living.
First, through song the word of Christ dwells in us richly in all
wisdom (Col. 3:16). There are many memory courses for sale, but
God introduces "singing" as the perfect memory expansion
technique for the human race. Singing is a wonderful memory technique.
If you are not convinced, just try it on a young child. Recently
I helped our five year old memorize her cafeteria number by singing
the four digit number to the tune of "happy birthday."
Not only does singing bring words to remembrance, but singing also
helps us quickly focus upon peripheral thoughts surrounding the
words of a song. For example, you may not remember all of the words
to "Amazing Grace" or "The Old Rugged Cross."
But as you think of the tune and perhaps a few of the words, your
mind quickly turns to previous thoughts associated with God's grace
and Christ's cross. And perhaps most important, notice that wisdom
is developed through song by having the word of Christ dwelling
(ever present) in our hearts.
Secondly, by singing we teach and admonish one another in addition
to singing to the Lord (Col. 3:16). As again exemplified by "Amazing
Grace", we teach each other about the saving grace of God which
saves a "wretch like me." And, we admonish one another
that it "Twas grace that has bro't me safe thus far And grace
will lead me home." What wonderful thoughts fill my mind upon
remembering such a powerful and meaningful song.
Thirdly, notice the heart of the one who is singing. He will have
grace in his heart (Col. 3:16). Think of it like this: If a Christian
is worshipping God by singing and making melody in his heart to
the Lord (Eph. 5:19), by allowing the word of Christ to richly dwell
in his soul through song (Col. 3:16), and by singing with understanding
(I Cor. 14:15), the result is a graceful heart. No one's heart could
have ill will toward God or man, but he will have a gracious heart
filled with spiritual thoughts of heaven, eternal life, and God's
grace toward all men.
Now turn your thoughts to James 5:13 which says: "Is anyone
among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing
psalms." It is easy to pray when we are suffering. But when
life is great and we are cheerful, prayer is much more difficult
because we do not feel an imposing need to call God to our aid.
Knowing this, James commands Christians, when cheerful, to sing.
Many songs are prayers. By singing when we are cheerful, we keep
the avenue of prayer open - imploring God to our aid while giving
Him continual praise and thanks from our lips. "This Is My
Father's World" is a traditional song exemplifying prayerful
praise to God - creator and sustainer of all physical and spiritual
kingdoms. Likewise, "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" exemplifies
a prayerful song saying: "My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb
of Calvary, Savior divine; Now hear me while I pray, Take all my
sins away, O let me from this day Be wholly Thine."
Now take a moment and examine your daily life in respect to singing
psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Remember that the command to
sing is to us each individually - apart from any "musical"
quality. If you are like me, you should be singing more. We need
to set aside time for singing to the Lord. Our songs to God should
not only be while we are alone, but also with family and friends
of like precious faith. During busy times of the day, we must keep
a spiritual song in our mind so that we are absorbed with spiritual
things. Of all this, the net result will be: a richer life, a closer
walk with God, a gracious heart, and a rich indwelling of the word