This is Not About the Lyric

After my last post (We Have Left Everything to Follow You), some may think that I have illustrated well the failing of contemporary music. Hardly. Please know that I was contemporary before contemporary was cool (as seen by the fact that I still use the word “cool”).

Please don’t read anything into what I wrote that I did not write, and don’t edit out of your consideration what I did write. I did not condemn the song or the artist. It is a fact that I have no idea what Jesus Culture had in mind when they wrote the lyric, “You make all things work together for my good”. They could have, in fact, had in mind exactly what I espoused regarding the sacrificial life. In that case, for them, the lyric is correct.

Remember, I said, “And keep in mind; this is not so much about the lyric as it is about what you believe.”

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a minute.

Have you ever sung, “I Surrender All”? Really. Did you mean every word of it, or did you have something else in mind when you sang it. Really? Surrender? All? ALL? If so, then good for you! 

How about, “Take My Life And Let It Be”? If we really meant these words when we sing them, and more importantly, when we’re not singing them, how different would the church be? How different would the United States be? How different would the world be?

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

It is not the words that anyone writes, it is what is meant by US as we repeat them. It is not the “old hymn” or the “praise song” that is in theologically true or in danger of theological error by the very nature of its style or age. It is most certainly not the tune, the harmony, or the instrumentation that is in danger or theological hypocrisy. It is us, who sing words that we do not mean, that are in danger of living a life where the words of our mouth do not agree with the meditation of our heart.

This is not so much about the lyric as it is about what you believe. Consider what you sing as you sing. Make sure you mean what you say, not just while you say/sing it, but while you live.

For example, a favorite song for many is “The Heart of Worship”. I know the history and the purpose for the writing of this song. But the heart of worship is not all about Jesus – it’s all about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Even Jesus said:

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8).

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

When I sing this song, not loudly so as to be a distraction to other, but in worship to Father, and the Son, and the Spirit, I simply sing or quietly meditate that God is the heart of worship. What do I mean by that? The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Lord and the Lamb and the Light. They are worthy of praise. They are the heart of worship.

Let me challenge you, when you are in corporate worship, and the song does not agree with your heart. Stop singing and either get your heart right, or change the words so that what you say/sing agrees with your heart. Remember, this is not so much about the lyric as it is about what you believe. If you believe that God is listening, be careful what you say/sing.

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