I read a blog today that annoyed me. It told me to stop singing “Oceans,” a worship song created by Hillsong United. I just knew the author was going to come in with some sweet angle that would leave you thinking “dang. I never considered that about worship. Oh my!” But it didn’t.
It kind of pissed me off. And not in a convicting, “oh darn you for uncovering my sin” kind of way. She’s basically telling people that unless they are ready and prepared to live out the lyrics of the songs they sing, then they better quit singing (or at least, that is my take, and according to the comments posted, several other readers’ opinions as well).
Because this is such an extreme statement, I’m going to be equally extreme and apply it to my time in the Word most days. If I can’t get my crap together and live out the verses I study, I might as well not even open my Bible. I might as well never sing another worship song ever again, because I constantly struggle to live out my faith. Heck, I struggle to get out of bed in the morning! Should I just lay there all day? Is that how it’s supposed to be? If it is, I feel like I’ve been lied to for a long time.
I don’t sing worship songs so that I can tell God all the good I’ve been doing for His Kingdom. Heck, I don’t sing worships songs as “promises” to God that I’m going to do certain things for him. Usually, I am singing because I feel like I don’t know what else to do. Singing because it’s literally all I have to offer; because I feel like my life is such a train wreck. I just want to scream his name from a mountaintop. There are days, weeks, even months where I do not care to even whisper God’s name. But just because I’m not “feeling it” doesn’t mean he’s not still the ultimate, the creator of the universe. And he demands my worship! If anything, songs like these are prayers and confessions of how weak and crappy I am.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me…take me deeper than my feet would ever wander, that my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.
To demand that someone stop singing these lyrics until they are ready to actually go and do is pretty ridiculous. She says, and I quote, “and every time I hear that song, I feel convicted for the way I sing it but refuse to live it.”
What is the logical thing to do in that situation? Stop singing it? Remove the conviction altogether because you’re not acting on your own “nudges?” My suggestion would be the opposite. Sing louder. Sing so loudly that your throat begins to burn and your lungs are about to burst. Sing until your stupid, human brain can comprehend the lyrics that are coming from your mouth. Sing until God pushes you off the cliff of safe, comfortable crap you are standing on, forcing you into these great oceans that Hillsong United wrote about. Don’t stop singing, lest you forget why you stopped.
We need to preach to ourselves. When we aren’t believing the Gospel, the best way to remember it is to preach it, read it, and sing it. If I’m not pursuing a trusting relationship with God, I need to remind myself of what that looks like. Especially if I’m not pursuing him. Sing. Sing until you can’t sing any more, and then keep singing. Keep asking for it. And she’s right, it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be comfortable. But if you’re singing this song, he’s going to respond. If you’re worshipping him, he’s going to respond. He will give you the boldness to jump, or he will push you anyway. He will put someone in your life to either ease you off the cliff or catch you once he pushes you over the edge. You don’t know how or when God is going to respond to your cries for help. But when he does, the author is right when she says, “It’s going to be a beautifully messy ride.” But the last thing you need to do is sit down and shut your mouth.
If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land. [Job 12:15]
I think her overall message is that if we actually took time to study the lyrics of the songs we were singing, we would be terribly convicted of some of the Truths we are not living out. And that’s completely accurate, especially in my life. But what do you do with that conviction? If only I could believe and live out 100% the words of the worship songs that I love so much…well I probably wouldn’t need to sing them anymore if that was the case. I will never be there, until I meet God face-to-face. For now, I’m going to stand, singing even when I don’t feel it, praying even when I don’t desire God, and studying the Word when I could care less. Because if I wait until Katherine is ready, it will never happen.
We love because he first loved us. [1 John 4:19]