This is post #15 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3: 15-16 (NIV)
There’s an old saying found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and often accredited to St. Augustine:
One who sings, prays twice.
Author Katherine Neville says this about the power of song:
Music has the power to create a universe or to destroy a civilization.
So, we really shouldn’t be surprised when we find Paul, here in his letter to the Colossians, encouraging his friends to embrace the amazing power found within a shared song. It’s interesting to note as well that we find identical language when Paul writes his friends in Ephesus, encouraging them to be a people filled with both the Spirit and song:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5: 18-20 (NIV)
Indeed, I believe we can safely say that two of Paul’s major goals as he traveled throughout the Roman Empire was to 1) help folks connect to Jesus of Nazareth, and then, 2) get them singing together as part of their day-to-day journey with Christ!
You see, music has the power to soothe a broken heart. It has the power to strengthen feeble knees. Shared song has the power to motivate men to war, or to move an enslaved people to freedom. In fact, anyone who studies human history with a heart for true understanding must embrace the power of song. And those who look at the history of the Christian faith must understand the amazing power of music to bring God’s often-scattered people together for the common purpose of celebrating the holy sacraments of worship and prayer.
Both Biblical scholars and church historians tell us that God’s people have been singing forever. From the Song of Moses and Miriam found in Exodus 15, right through to the concluding choruses found in the Book of Revelation, it’s obvious to any casual reader that God’s Book is filled to the brim with music and song! What other holy book do you know of, for example, that has a complete songbook (The Psalms) located right in the middle of its pages? In the New Testament, Matthew’s gospel (26: 30) tells us that even our Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, on the night before His crucifixion, led His disciples in a hymn of praise before they trekked up to the Mount of Olives!
Over in the Book of Acts, we find that God’s people are still singing…
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” Acts 16: 25-28 (NIV)
You see, if God can encourage us to get our eyes off of our own problems long enough to lift a song of praise to Him, chances are, something good is gonna happen for the greater glory of God. Paul knew this, firsthand, and that’s why he includes these words of instruction in the letters he wrote to his good friends around the Roman Empire.
Years ago, I had a good friend offer me some really good advice, as I was going through a difficult season in life…
“Marty, I so appreciate the hard time you are in, and I don’t want to tell you what to do. But, my suggestion is this: Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, why don’t you try worshipping your way through this problem? Instead of wringing your hands in worry, try lifting a song of praise and thanksgiving to Jesus!”
You see, I believe this good friend was doing exactly what Paul was prescribing here in Colossians 3: My friend was “teaching and admonishing me with all wisdom,” encouraging me to use “psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in my heart.”
And, you know what?
It worked. And it still does.
Whenever I feel depressed, worried, filled with anxiety or deep concerns, I remember the good advice my friend gave me…
“Marty, why don’t you worship your way through this problem?”
So, what about you?
What “psalm, hymn or song from the Spirit” is in your heart today?
My Prayer: Father God, You are the Creator of all things, including music and song. Thank You that this amazing gift has the power to lift my heart, give me strength, and keep me on the Way everlasting. Jesus, give me psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit for both my edification and the encouragement of others. For Your glory and for Your name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Thoughts to Ponder: Psalm 30: verse 4 (MsgB) encourages us:
All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank Him to His face!
Knowing the importance of corporate worship in both the Old and New Testaments, do I have a place of community where I can sing songs of praise and thanksgiving to God along with others? If not, what steps can I take in fulfilling that command?
So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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