In a round about way, I suppose this could be a follow up on this post here where I asked if professional quality bands were necessary for good worship. Needless to say, the focus was on how we sing, not so much what we sing.
But that naturally leads to question about what we sing. How much do lyrics matter? Well, I’m kind of musing here though I suspect it might come across as nitpicking music. But I noticed some contrasts that really made me take note about what we sing.
As I was driving into work the other day, radio off doing my usual morning drive – thinking, praying, singing, I started to sing this old Hillsong tune that we played quite often back in my Charismatic worship team days
Lord I give you my heart, I give you my soul
I live for you alone
Every breath that I take, every morning I’m awake
Lord, have your way in me
I stopped singing. My first thought was ‘how dishonest’. While I do desire to honor the Lord in all I do, the reality is that I fall short often. I don’t always give my heart and soul nor do I live for God alone. I squeeze in me, more or less. Of course, my goal is to love the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength and love my neighbor as myself. But really, I don’t fully or consistently.
I immediately thought of Come Thou Fount, and particularly this line
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above
Now you’re talking. That’s my reality – prone to wander, distracted, self-absorbed, navel gazing. I don’t think it helps to sing all these wonderful things that I do, that I really don’t do, though I strive to do. In fact, the more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but think that not only were the lyrics dishonest but also a bit arrogant. I mean, think about it. It’s all about what I do for the Lord. Look at how much I’m giving you Lord. Look at how much every minute of the day is instead of what the Lord has done for me. (I also don’t like singing I Surrender All for this very same reason). I surely do have it together for you, Lord. Singing about what I do for the Lord is not worshiping the Lord, its worshiping me.
Saying that I give all to the Lord will not encourage me to give all to the Lord. What will fuel my affection for him is focusing on him and not me. My motivation to give all is remembering what he did for and that it is only by his grace that I have any disposition towards him. That is what will encourage my affection. The honesty of Come Thou Fount also make me realize that I need help and I need to be honest to the Lord about that. I am a rebel and want my own way. But it is in my weakness, that I cry out for strength, to enable me to comply with his standards and set my affection on things above (Col 3:1)
Again, my point here was not to pick apart a song, only to illustrate how what we sing matters.