There are a lot of different types of worship songs and they all can serve the purpose of drawing us close to God.
I’m not talking about musical styles, though. I’m not going to weigh the pros and cons of a rock band versus an organ and piano, hymns versus chorus or whether God approves of drums and flag waving. I like a good hand-clapper – a good foot-stomper – a good tear jerker – just as much as the next guy. Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord – I could not care less what style you are doing the praising in.
Some worship songs look inward, to who God is to me. Other worship songs plead with God for help. There are lamentations – or songs of regret, sorrow and repentance. I’m sure there are many other types, but I’m going to skip right ahead to my favorite type of worship song: the kind of song that declares who God is!
I’m very fortunate to attend a church with a bangin’ worship band.
(Is that cool? Is bangin’ a fetch word? Shout out to Taylor and his team – you guys are spectacular)
I’m a music lover (music of ALL kinds), so a tight worship band is always appreciated. Some songs they perform better than others. Some they love and I groan at. But a couple of weeks ago, they BROUGHT IT on the Phil Wickham song Living Hope. At least I assume they did. Honestly, once my hands went up and the tears started pouring – I couldn’t hear anything. I was just in the moment singing to Jesus.
Apologies to my wife, who was sitting next to me and wondering if I was choking on my own spit or trying to sing.
I was just enjoying the song, singing along, until we got to this verse:
Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living hope…
My voice cracked. My knees went weak and the tears just started rolling. I gotta tell you – it has been a while since I felt so totally in love with my Savior in a moment of worship like that. That’s on me. It’s my job to prepare my heart – to be ready to enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart. And as a well-aged Christian (going on 31 years of following Jesus this Summer) it is easy to get lazy.
Lazy worship is my default. I can sing (sometimes on key), raise my hands and enjoy the thrills of a well-performed song – and call that worship. But it is NOT worship. It is enjoying singing with other people in a concert like setting. And there is nothing wrong with that. But a fine sacrifice of praise to Jesus it is not. To get to the meat and potatoes kind of worship – where you understand God is gonna burn some sin off of you and lighten your load and it is going to feel great and hurt all at the same time – you have to get your heart right. That involves confession – repentance – and acceptance that God loves you still and wants to be with you.
I started 2020 with the usual resolutions: lose weight, explore new places, get out of debt – but a new resolution has raced to the top of the charts! That resolution is to really truly worship Jesus in Spirit and Truth – as much as possible – as often as possible. I hope you’ll adopt that goal too. I think spending genuine time in worship has the power to transform us way more than a few trips to the gym or a misguided week without carbs.
The temptation that comes from an incredible moment with God in worship is to try and recreate the experience the next time. But like any good relationship, you need new, fresh experiences together to grow closer – not a repeat performance. That said … this Phil Wickham song is my jam right now, so enjoy…