Popular songs that we hear often are easily relegated to the ‘Oh no, not that song again!’ zone (think ‘Despacito’) and worship songs are not exempt from evoking a similar response. Is there a worship song you are tired of singing? We need help.
Scripture proved to be a helpful aid for me.
During one of the opportunities to worship the Lord in song at my local church, I heard the familiar whispers of the “Forever Reign” melody (by Hillsong) as the pianist diligently attempted to inspire worship in the congregation. I used to love that song but my heart had grown tired of singing it.
I needed to come up with a solution. Otherwise, I would be doomed to spend the remainder of the service captivated by the church nave instead.
I resolved to pray the words of the song instead of singing them.
During my PRAY-sing, I felt quite acquainted with most of the song, as you would expect from a song I use to obsess about. Phrases such as “You are good You are good, When there’s nothing good in me” and “You are light You are light, When the darkness closes in” meandered together into a chorus which summoned the church troops with a unified declaration of “I’m running to Your arms!” as they always had.
“Amazing”, I thought to myself as meaning began to flood my heart again.
While still in that posture of supplication, I prayed the line, “My heart will sing no other name. Jesus”. This involuntary, guided prayer, caused me to stop and think about what it was that I had just requested, “Lord. My heart will sing no other name, but the name of Jesus.”
I had to stop and think about that for a second and quit being so emotive. In order for me to pray that with any sort of authenticity, I had to know what that meant. I needed those words to be coming from my heart and not the heart of the songwriters Jason Ingram and Ruben Morgan.
I was reminded that keeping our heart from being responsive to no other name but the name of Jesus sounds consistent with the commandment that Jesus called the First and the Greatest:
Loving the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your strength and all of your mind (Luke 10:27).
So, I resolved to understand the scripture further. These were some of my thoughts.
LOVING THE LORD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART means that you keep your heart fixed on being responsive only to Jesus.
This does not mean that you are never happy about stuff or are emotionally disconnected. Rather, compared to the way in which you are responsive to Jesus, those other things that our hearts are responsive to seem like nothing. The sad truth is that indeed, we do know that compared to Jesus and all of who He is those things are objectively nothing. We know that.
However, subjectively and in practice is where we often struggle.
LOVING THE LORD WITH ALL OF YOUR SOUL means that your identity is anchored in the truth of who you are in Christ Jesus.
Just like before, it does not mean that you do not identify as your mother’s son or daughter. Or you do not identify as being black or white. What this means is that compared to being in right relationship with God and the privilege of being a child of God, any other identity is a part of whom you are, but is relegated into the oblivion of obscurity.
Objectively, that is the case. We know that to be the case, but the challenge is with our subjectivity. How we choose to identify as most of the time. Loving God with my soul looks like being ‘rooted’ in that truth more than others. No matter what.
LOVING THE LORD WITH ALL OF YOUR MIND means an intentional pursuit of filling your mind with thoughts and scriptures that magnify and inspire love for God more than we fill our minds with anything else.
LOVING THE LORD WITH ALL OF YOUR STRENGTH means spending our natural resources as gifts of love to God.
Compared to how often we spend our time, money, energy and talents to acquire a sense of purpose and validation, the way we offer them as gifts of worship to God makes those earthly rewards seem as nothing.
In that moment those well sung words took on a new, deeper meaning. I’m sure we will sing that song again but this time I’ll start singing from a new perspective. Reflecting on the words of the song and exploring their truth in Scripture made all the difference.
Why don’t you give it a try?