Music affects the mind and soul in unique and powerful ways. It’s a soundtrack to life, a powerful expression of the longings of every human heart, and a potent means of sharing story. All this I readily accept.
But what else is music for?
Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t limited my own purposes or benefits from what God has given to his kids in musical worship. I frequently find solace or comfort in the truth of the songs of the Church. I have frequently find encouragement when I hear something I feel expressed perfectly in the poetry of the songs of the Church. I have felt the “lifting up” and invigoration that happens when singing significant things in the company of many others needing the same change.
But would I describe worship as a weapon in my everyday fight?
I recently explored this idea and wrestled with whether I was comfortable with this purpose to the songs we sing as a community. The exploration was prompted by a new song I came across that we are introducing to Doxa Church this Sunday called “Raise a Hallelujah”. It was written around the idea that our singing is a weapon against doubt and struggle in our life with Christ. The author specifically wrote the song as he wrestled with doubts that God would heal a life-threatening illness that affected his friend’s children right before Christmas.
I don’t believe any of us fully understand how musical worship functions as a form of attack against, and protection from, that which is evil in the world. But I can’t deny that there is enough evidence in scripture for us to pay attention to, and practice, musical worship as a weapon. Below are three brief thoughts for reflection:
1. Musical worship is mystical and affects how things play out in our lives.
Most reformed folks avoid at great lengths the mystical nature of God. They prefer clean constructs and tidy theologies. While I appreciate deeply the desire for thoughtful accuracy and biblical precision, that’s not a great recipe for encountering the dynamic and transcendent maker of the universe. So with that said, let’s be sure to recognize that musical worship is as much mystical as it is cardinal.
A few examples:
a. God incorporates musicians in his armies, and their songs directly impact the outcome of the battle (see 2 Chronicles 20).
b. Paul famously sings his way out of a jail cell. (Which by the way, was a disgusting and loathsome place. Any modern county holding cell would comparatively feel like a night at the Hilton.) This is no small thing, and I can imagine the jailer had no problem believing that God works through song.
c. Singing is commanded in the same breath as warfare language in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5. Part of putting sin to death, is to engage battle in song. Unreal.
2. Music is the handle, and God’s word is the blade.
The picture of God’s word as a sword is certainly more than poetry. Repeating what is true in song is a powerful way to sever our thoughts from what is false and deceptive about our lives. Focusing on the simple declarations of Christ over our lives cuts through the chaos of our inner thoughts and anxieties. Music is a powerful way of wielding the part of the weapon that actually does the work; the blade. Like a gun with no bullets, music itself is powerless to do spiritual battle.
3. I want to more quickly reach for worship in the face of my own battles.
You might think as a worship pastor I would regularly burst into song when I feel discouraged or when I’m not sure how to solve a problem.The truth is that’s not the case. I’m much more quick to reach for a logical assessment, or a tactical plan. Taking a moment to sing can feel like the absolute last thing that would help a situation.
I can’t help but wonder how often the outcome in a difficult situation for me would have looked differently if my initial reaction was to reach for the same power that decimated armies and shattered jail bars. Not because I am conjuring a spell or saying magic words, but because the God of the universe is incredibly powerful, majestically mystical, and a big fan of His kids music.
Published by: Donald in Devotions