I recently had the opportunity to preach from Psalm 103. As I studied, I considered the call to praise God through son, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me.” Here are two applications I hope that we as a church can practice every Lord’s Day.
Mean What You Sing
Sometimes you just go through the motions. I know you do, because I’ve watched you! But I also know how easy it is for me to go through the motions too. You mouth all the right words, but it might as well be a different language. You mostly are just thinking about what’s for lunch. It’s so easy to speak and sing glorious truths, without thinking. David seems to know this same struggle in his own life. As he begins Psalm 103, he tells himself as he sings: “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (v.1) and “Forget not all his benefits” (v.2).
But what about when you do forget? How can you remember and mean it? To start with, keep singing! And as you sing (or maybe you could even try it before you sing), focus on what you’re singing about and who you’re singing to—think and pray! One great way to prepare ahead of time is by checking what songs we’ll sing at church on Sunday. You can find these posted on our website each Friday. Grab a hymnal and look them up or go online and listen and sing along.
Sing Like You Mean It
What you say really matters, but it also matters how you say it. We want to worship God in truth, but also in spirit. Think about the people around you on Sunday morning. Don’t you love hearing other Christians passionately declaring God’s glory? They delight to hear you too! And our singing together is a corporate witness to others, especially non-Christians, who come into our gatherings. How will they hear you sing? Could it be described as passionate and joyful? That doesn’t mean you just act happy even though you’re not, but that you daily strive to find your happiness in Christ, and you bless his name in every circumstance.
The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “Are there not periods of life when we feel so glad that we would dance for joy? Let not such exhilaration be spent upon common themes, but let the name of God stir us to ecstasy […] There is enough in our holy faith to create and to justify the utmost degree of rapturous delight. If men are dull in the worship of the Lord our God they are not acting consistently with the character of their religion.”
In other words, if you are truly filled with God’s Spirit (a Christian) you will be bearing spiritual fruit, one of which is “joy” (Galatians 5:22). Jesus is the most joyful and joy-giving person in the world. Are you truly singing about Christ and for His glory? Then others should be able to describe your worship as “joyful!”
A couple days after I preached from Psalm 103, I had an encouraging conversation with another church member. She reminded me again of the value of singing, and especially when you’re discouraged. She said that she regularly grabs her hymnal and begins singing to the Lord at home by herself, especially when she’s struggling, or when she’s trying to pray or read the Bible but just feels like she’s getting nothing. Singing praise is able to lift your spirit, and remind you of God’s truth and beauty. Will you sing and bless the Lord with all your soul? Mean what you sing, and sing it like you mean it!