There is a song that is incredulously famous within the Christian culture. The name of this song is His Eye Is On The Sparrow. In this song the lyrics highly claim that the reason for our singing is because we are happy and free. Being a singer/songwriter for the better part of fifteen years, happy and free are not always the cases for our singing. Country music can be seen as the epitome of singing through sorrow.
Many are the songs of repentance and sorrow. We find in life that songs are sung in a multitude of emotions, with happiness being one of them. Granted it’s much harder to sing an up tempo song with an expression of lamentation and harder still to sing a song of slow tempo during a moment of excitement. Tempos carry the charge of the emotional state.
However singing can take on another dimension that we sometimes fail to see, the dimension of faith. Faith comes when something naturally seems absurd to believe. Faith emerges when fear rears its ugly head. Faith makes itself known when the only thing we have to lean on is the unknown.
As stated in Hebrews 11:1 faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. How does this apply to our singing? Simple. When we sing to or about God, we are saying that we believe in what has yet to come and that we have confidence in what we hope for.
We believe through faith that there was a man named Jesus who was born from a virgin, performed many miracles, lived a perfect sinless life, died a horrible death on the cross as a sacrifice for all human kind, rose in three days, and ascended to Heaven to sit on the right hand side of God’s throne. It takes faith to believe in such things because we haven’t yet seen Jesus sitting on his thrown in heaven.
It takes faith to sing about them, too. How often do you find yourself singing about things you hope for or things you are sure will happen but have yet to see? Yet every Sunday morning across the world, Christians are singing songs of faith. It sounds strange to sing of things that are yet to come. That’s like writing a song about a son that I might have in the future, or a relationship that might happen in the future but I don’t know if it will happen.
Wait! I think Rebecca St. James already did that. It was called Wait For Me, and she got ridiculed for singing about future things like a husband. So you can see it seems odd to sing of those things we have yet to experience, but, yet, we still do. It seems weird to sing of the miracles worked by Jesus, but we do. It seems weird to sing of a Trinitarian God—three persons in one—that makes absolutely no sense if you think about it, but we do.
Singing about our faith perfects it. When we sing about our faith, our faith is strengthened. Singing about our faith allows us to dive deeper into our beliefs, which helps us become more affectionate toward them. When we sing about faith, our minds and our souls embody it. God expects us to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, so if we are not singing out of pure faith, we are not doing what God wants us to do. The very prominence of loving God is with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. By utilizing faith in these areas of our being it ratifies the ability to sing to our creator.
If we continue to read Hebrews 11, we will see in verse six that the bible says it is impossible to please God without faith. So without faith, God is not pleased by our sacrifice of praise through singing. When we sing songs to God that are not rooted in faith, it then becomes lip service, and God says that lip service to him is like a noisy gong. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
He’s not interested in seeing his believers show up to church to only reverberate words from a screen that we have neither belief nor faith in. Would you like it if someone offered to you a song they wrote about you yet when they sang it, they had no emotion but a stale blank expression of song? I wouldn’t. American Idol judges wouldn’t either. Yo dawg. That doesn’t do anything for God!
It pleases God when we come to him with a broken and contrite heart full of praise and faith, because he sees the truth in our offering of song. He sees through the façade of mouthing words to get through a service. If there is no faith in our hearts to match the words that come from our mouths, my recommendation is to stop singing and pray about faith.
There was a man who had a demon possessed son who said to Jesus “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”
Look what the man says next.
“I do believe; help my unbelief.”
What did he mean by that? We all have levels of belief. But deep inside us we have a moment of unbelief. This man was crying out to God saying, I believe but there is a part of me that sees this as impossible. Help me!
Sometimes in our unbelief, we need to cry out and say I believe but it seems so difficult. Help me! In order to sing through faith we have to be willing to face this unbelief and allow God to enter and help us overcome.
Let’s wrap up. There are times it’s hard to believe. It’s hard to have faith. Ask God to help you in your unbelief and approach the throne of grace with confidence in faith and sing your heart out to God. It pleases Him this way.