Lifelines: Singing

Singing is one of the integral parts of our assembly. It is obvious to visitors of the church of Christ that our approach to it is different. Ours is purely vocal. There is neither instrument nor choir. Every person is an equal participant in the song service. Some are highly skilled, and others are not. Talent on display is not the purpose, and music critics are not our concern. Pleasing God is.

We tend to listen rather superficially to the talent of a singer, but God hears something different. The quality of the heart is what catches His ear. He is not shallow like we are, and the melody that originates from within is more important than sounds from without. Hitting the high notes does not impress Him much. Engaging our minds and spirits does (1 Corinthians 14:15). Like every aspect of worship, it demands our full attention.

There is much more going on when we sing than meets the ear. It involves not only our hearts and lips but also the Lord. It is the first evidence mentioned by Paul in being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18-19). It is not just a pleasant way to punctuate the other elements of our worship. There is a transforming quality about it that those with wandering minds will never experience. It is our way of inviting God to put His imprint on us, and the evidence is unmistakable. It is called fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), and singing nurtures the heart that produces it.

It is also one of the ways that Scripture authorizes us to teach and admonish each other (Col. 3:16). All things are to be done in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:17), and this is one that has His approval. Emphasis shifts from melody to message when we remember that it is part of the educational process. Doctrine is critically important, and the songs that we sing influence us in immeasurable ways. Those words make impressions on the minds of others. Sing them thoughtfully and carefully.

To underestimate the significance of singing is a tragic error. There are consequences of participating in the song service that cannot be achieved any other way. It involves not only the singer, but also the Lord, the Spirit and our fellow Christians. Surely, that is why the Lord arranged it so that everyone could take part, whether we are a soprano or a bass, or do not know the difference between the two. Off key is not a problem. Closed mouths are. God gave us the voices that we have. We must use them.