God created music just as He created everything else. It is, at its best, a means of reflecting on His glory and even of bringing Him glory as we sing to Him. But what if we lie in the songs we sing to Him and about Him? A. W. Tozer was known for saying that Christians don’t tell lies, they just go to church and sing them. I think he was more honest than most of us.
Have you ever sung a song in church about surrendering everything to Christ? Or laying down your life to Him? Did you mean it? I don’t mean just at that moment when you might have been swept away by emotion (which is not a good thing, by the way) but, rather, overall? Every moment of every day? If you don’t, you aren’t alone. So many fail to comprehend what it is we are saying to the Lord when we sing words like “I surrender all” or “love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all“? The songs, while beautiful, are often just a part of the service to us. In fact, the time of singing is often referred to as the time of worship because we well know the affect those songs have on our emotions. We don’t really expect them to reflect reality.
But should they?
It hit me one day that, here I was singing my heart out Sunday after Sunday about fully belonging to and fully surrendering to Jesus and I didn’t completely mean it. I mean, of course, at the time, swept away by the emotion of it all, with tears streaming down my face, I meant it at that moment. But, the question was, did I really buy into the message of the song or was I just lying? And, if I was lying, who was it that I was lying to? Me? No, I knew the truth of the situation. Others? If so then they were lying back to me and we were all a bunch of hypocrites. No, that wasn’t it, either. God? Yes, that was it. I was lying to God. It was Him I was singing to about cherishing Him above, beyond and instead of anything else and, yet, I didn’t truly mean it. I was a liar who was lying to the true and living God Who said that liars have their place in hell.
Something had to change. I couldn’t go on like that, not after understanding what I was doing. So I started really listening to the songs, breaking them down, comparing them to Scripture, trying to figure out what they meant. They became some of my best teachers. I learned to embrace their truths rather than shrink away from them. By God’s grace, the words of the songs began to reflect reality for me rather than just being the part of church where I got teary-eyed.
I’ve grown a lot in the ensuing years. After several years and much study and prayer, I embraced a deeper, more difficult “brand” of Christianity than that of my childhood. I can truly say with complete honesty that God is everything to me and that I cherish Him above all and instead of all. My faith has been tried and tested and no doubt will be again and again. Each time I come through the fire, I learn to love God more. My Christian growth is, of course, tied in with my times of prayer, Bible study, church attendance and the study of good books by good men and women who love(d) the Lord. It is, however, also linked to that day when I came to understand the necessity of not lying to God at all…not even in the songs that I sing to Him. God doesn’t take the breaking of our vows lightly. If we are singing about His being our everything, He had actually better be our everything. Otherwise, we have just lied to Him and liars have their part in the lake of fire. I don’t want to be one of them.
It’s time we all quit lying to the Lord in song. Each of us should take time to ponder what it is we are saying when we sing to the Lord and if we don’t mean the words, let not sing them. If He isn’t our all, we ought not to lie and tell Him He is. He knows the difference. It’s time we did.