Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I ponder things.

I really do. A lot.

Pondering, for me, happens at odd times and mostly when completing mundane tasks ... like yesterday, as I was peeling potatoes for the most involved recipe for Irish stew. Seriously delicious though. I'll post the recipe later.

I was alone. It was quiet.

These two conditions happening at the same time create a ponder-fest.

So, I did. Ponder, that is.

God has definitely been dealing with me on some issues (like He's never not dealing with me) and this has been one of them: Worship.

Most of you know I'm a part of the worship team at our church and praise & worship is very close to my heart. Or should I say music is very close to my heart (you'll understand the clarification in a minute). I'd say it's a definite passion of mine and always has been. I love to worship God in this manner. I really do. Once again ... always have for years.

But, I think we can all get a bit confused here.

Since when did "worship" mean music?

Who decided that singing and playing instruments was what worship was?

Who defined worship for us?

That's what I was pondering.

From what I recall from the Bible, worship was something totally different.

I seem to remember it being bringing offerings and sacrifices, or going to hear the Word read aloud, or falling down prostrate. Never music.

Was it David that made us think that it's songs? I realize throughout the Psalms that's what He did and he was a man after God's own heart. I get that. But, is that really worship? I'm just pondering again. Because honestly, I think the songs ... the music ... is more for us than for Him. More for our benefit. Not that it should be. Does it really just make us feel better? God doesn't NEED our songs or our music. I'm sure He appreciates it. But, obviously, we're the ones who need it. Look at all the emphasis we put on it at our churches.

But, I'm not really sure that's what worship is.

God gave me a little insight yesterday. Totally strange how this happened amidst my pondering.

I was still peeling potatoes and pondering.

Beau walked in with the girls from school.

There is an afternoon routine that happens in our house after school, which involves grabbing a snack and homework. Nothing else happens until homework is done.

This can be a chore sometimes especially with La Petite Belle, who is very easily distracted and wants to talk, or do anything else but homework at this time.

Right before she sat down at the table to do her homework, she says, "Mommy, do you want to hear the song I made up today?"

I say, "Baby, not right now. I want you to sit down and do your homework."

She proceeds to sing some of it.

I say, "I will listen to it later. Sit down and do your homework."

I did want to hear her song, but it was way more important to me that she just do what I asked her to do ... to just obey.

BAM! It's like a had a little revelation of what God must feel with us.

The fact that she wrote a song for me was sweet, but that's it. Sweet.

I wanted her to obey.

Do you think that's how God feels?

I'm not saying He doesn't want to hear our songs. Of course, He does. Just like I wanted to hear La Petite Belle's. But, obedience first. The song was secondary.

So often, I think we want to forget about the obedience, which encompasses every aspect of our life and just shut God up with a song. "See, God? I love You. Listen to my song." I wonder sometimes if He's even listening or turns His ear because of the disobedience and indifference in our life.

I'm not saying He does. So, don't freak out. I'm just pondering. Could He be?

Obedience is better than sacrifice, right?

I know when my child disobeys me, I really don't want to hear her sing a song of love to me. I want her to repent and obey. I want her to change.

How ironic that we can sing a song to God about how wonderful He is and how much we want to give our lives to Him, but have hate/resentment/bitterness (plus a hundred other things) in our heart toward our brother.

Worship is love and adoration for our God, accompanied by a life of devotion to Him.

That's it.

Simple, but extremely difficult.

John MacArthur, Jr. says: "That consuming, selfless desire to give to God is the essence and the heart of worship. It begins with the giving first of ourselves, and then of our attitudes, and then of our possessions -- until worship is a way of life."

A way of life.

That's what it is.

The music we sing is such a small part of that way of life.

I'm just pondering here.

Your thoughts?


tonya said...

right on!

Anonymous said...

Daphne, I think you are absolutely SPOT ON. Worship is an act of the heart to show adoration toward God. Singing without that adoration is just singing.

Certainly, music CAN BE worship, but I completely agree that it starts with the condition of the heart and goes way deeper than a song.

I love your heart!

Becky (Methvin)

phoebe said...

I could not agree with you more! I completely understand what you are saying and have had that very same thought...is that all he wants! I know now that it is so much more...it is our life, our pray, our giving, our loving, and sharing of the good news. I am blessed by your revelation.

On the other side....I am very moved and touched by music and always have been. I feel like music speaks from the soul not the mind sometimes. When I allow the song to get in my soul and ponder on its lyrics, it triggers an uninhibited prayer from me, I am open to letting go and letting the Holy Spirit..every time I have every prayed in the Holy Spirit it has been during a song that triggered a prayer or an emotion (issue)!

Thank you so much!

Rachelle said...

I 100% agree. If we are not even attempting to give our life as an act of worship, the songs are just noise we are making.

McElroy Family Happenings said...

Okay....so I'm going to be a little lighthearted here. I really like what you had to say. It makes me feel better about the times I intentionally show up late for church because there is just too much dang singing and standing. The loud instruments and hand-clapping are noisy and a bit distracting to me. (Although our instrumentalists and vocalists are extraordinary. Odd coming from a former church pianist. ha ha)

Liz said...

I am afraid that many Christians are deceived into thinking that if they're spending so much time singing spiritual songs that it makes them spiritual. I have friends who are more apt to spend an hour singing and listening to music that makes them FEEL spiritual, but they entirely neglect to spend time in His Word. You can't grow and change without reading the Word. A feeling does not make you spiritual. Obedience to God does.

But singing is definitely a part of worship. Psalm 100 is a call to worship God, and He says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all you lands. Come before Him with singing."

Do you know why we sing? It's because God sings, and we are made in His image. Zephaniah 3:17 says, "...He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love, He will exult over you with loud singing." What a wonderful thought that God sings over us!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Amy@My Front Porch said...

You hit the nail on the head when you said "obedience was first. The song was secondary." Awhile back I studied the book of Ephesians and John MacArthur in his commentary had some really good thoughts on the verse that talks about worshiping the Lord with "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs". He said -- and I'm paraphrasing here-- something along the lines of that if you can't sing the words of a song from your heart then you should just keep your mouth shut. I think about that everytime I sing in church now. Thanks for sharing your "ponderings" on this :)

Debra said...

Oh my goodness, you couldn't have said this any better! You are so right and my husband and I have had these same ponderings and conversations about this very thing with each other, with God and also our worship team, to which I am a part of and have a passion for also. In fact, my husband has even mentioned this very thing, to our congregation in a couple of his messages.

I love what you said at the end and also the quote by John MacArthur! Before every song service we (worship team and my husband who also leads the worship team) get together and my husband asks us to tell about our week with Jesus and Wow, it's amazing how when you get real with others and God, you realize that maybe your heart of worship hasn't been with Jesus all week or maybe you're hearts not right, that very moment.

My husband has taught all of us, that if we don't have the right heart, we shouldn't be singing and it's been so sweet to see, when someone comes clean and decides not to sing that day because it wouldn't be honoring to God, until they get their heart or attitude right (which has only happened a coule of times because of what I'm gonna say next), but even sweeter is when they pray and get it right, then and there. And in the same respect, it is so sweet to hear how Jesus has worked in hearts all week and and how He is teaching all of us to be selfless and give to Him! I look forward to those times with our worship team, which usually always end up with tears, as we pray for one another and ourselves before we start our practice before the worship service.

Thank you, for this post.....it was so refreshing to my spirit to hear and I can't wait to share it with my husband! :)

Jeff Ables said...

Very good post. Worship is the way we live our lives. It's reflected in our decisions and how we treat each other. Most of all it is the obedience we walk in before God. Thanks for the reminder! The illustration with you and La Petite Belle is priceless. Any chance I could use that one in a sermon?

Kristy said...

I could not agree more!
That Good Part

Apple Mama said...

Woman, that was gooood! Right on!