Our Attitude in Song
Praise the LORD!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Singing is a sacrifice to God, a sacrifice of praise.
Hebrews 13:15-16 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
In all things, God expects us to have the proper reverence toward Him. God is to be honored and thanked or our efforts are futile (Romans 1:20-21). God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 2:23-25), and our singing must be with the spirit and the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). We can’t worship in spirit and truth with our minds wandering, or without thinking seriously about what we are singing. When we sing, we need to have our hearts and minds fully engaged.
Ephesians 5:19 shows we can’t use instruments. We should “speak” and “make melody in the HEART.” This is absolutely true, but what more is Paul discussing?
Eph 5:15-21 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Paul is writing about being wise and making the most of our time here on earth. One way to do this is to fill ourselves with the Spirit by worshipping God in song. Singing is not just a routine or a necessary action. It is a powerful way to draw closer to our God. Colossians 3:16 can also be properly used to show that instruments have no place in our worship, but using the passage for this alone limits the full context of Paul’s writing.
Col 3:15-17 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 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. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Ever get a song or a catchy commercial jingle stuck in your head? Songs get in our heads and in our hearts. Some of the first and most permanent concepts we learn are taught through song. How many of us can recite the ABCs without singing? Song is a powerful memory device that can help us to keep His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him.
Don’t misunderstand my intent; we are right to avoid instrumental music. But as Christ said of the scribes and Pharisees, we can be wrong by doing some of the things we should and leaving others undone. God doesn’t say, “sing only if you have a good voice,” or “sing only if you like the song.” He likewise doesn’t call us to “sing because it’s our routine,” “sing to show off your voice and ability,” or “sing catchy, fun and engaging songs only.” We need to sing properly, without instruments AND sing with our hearts and minds.
God takes our worship very seriously. When we worship Him, we must honor and thank Him in spirit and in truth. When we offer up the sacrifice of our lips, dare we engage in it lightly and offer less than our best?