Updated: May 13, 2019
Many times, our worship of God is primarily expressed through the songs we sing. This is certainly a great thing because we have actually been created to worship. Peter writes that believers are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pt. 2:9). Notice, Peter doesn’t stop with “you are a chosen people.” He goes on to say that WE ARE CHOSEN, SO THAT WE MAY DECLARE HIS PRAISES.
We are a chosen, royal priesthood charged with going out into this world with a witness - a bold declaration of how our lives have been changed by the grace and love of Jesus Christ. As we worship in our daily lives, it lifts the focus off of ourselves or our current circumstances and brings an eternal perspective into view. When we see things through the lens of eternity, or through Christ’s view for us, it brings a large degree of clarity to our situation. Worship is the primary way we reframe our struggle and place God back at the center of our lives. When those around us see the hope we have in the face of trials, or as Paul calls it, the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), they begin to wonder what is it about us that is different. That curiosity on their part opens the door for us to “share the hope that is within us” (1 Pt. 3:15).
The vast majority of the songs we sing in church are rooted in Scripture and help us have a quicker way to recall these truths put to song. “TRUTH PUT TO MUSIC PENETRATES THE HEART LIKE FEW THINGS CAN. CORPORATE SINGING HAS EVANGELISTICPOWER” (Andy Stanley). As Andy points out, when we come together in corporate, large-group settings, something much bigger than just ourselves is taking place. As believers, we are to be involved in “spurring each other on to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). Every Sunday, someone in our midst is struggling with some level of grief, uncertainty, or trial in their life.
When we join together and boldly declare the glories of God, even in the midst of our own trials, it can be an encouragement and source of strength to those around us. Keith and Krysten Getty (authors of In Christ Alone & other modern “hymns”)have even said that “CONGREGATIONAL SINGING IS ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL TOOLS WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO DECLARE GOD’S EXCELLENCIES, STRENGTHENING HIS CHURCH, AND SHARING HIS GLORY WITH THE WORLD.”
This is what Peter was getting at when he wrote that we have been chosen to declare the praises, or the excellencies, of our Savior Jesus Christ. Worship involves so much more than just the songs or times we sing on Sundays. We’re called to worship at all times, not just for the benefit of our own souls, but for others as well. When our hearts and eyes are focused on God’s glory, it helps us see and respond to the needs of those around us. It keeps the focus off of our own personal preferences or comforts, and puts the focus of worship back on the object of our worship - God and God alone. So next time you are lifting God up in song (next Sunday, for many of us), lift up those in your midst as well. Your heart for God’s glory may be the tool He uses to help spur them on to even greater faith.
Worship & College Minister