Last week I wrote about how music impacts our way of life and thoughts. When it comes then to our lives and what we say to them, they too affect those around us. Continuing this metaphor, I want to express a few ways (songs) that we sing and how they impact the world around us.
Scripture speaks to the nature of the mind and tongue and how these things should be and what they can do. Philippians 2 teaches that all things should be experienced without complaint. James teaches that words can destroy friendships, families, lives, and nations. The book of Romans instructs us to renew the mind on the things of glory rather than the things of the world. Likewise, Paul admits that his ability to endure all his suffering is that he looks to unseen things, not the circumstances surrounding him. Finally, Philippians 4 commands the mind to think about that which is true, pure, lovely, etc. While I could focus on all the wrong ways we think, focus, speak, and engage, I would violate the aforementioned wisdom. Therefore, I will focus on how these positive actions, which I will call songs, move and change the world around us.
Songs of Praise
Whether we praise God or give praise to each other, I’ve never felt despair while hearing the praises of another person unless that praise is to exult in evil or negative things. It is far better to be in the habit of offering praise for what is good rather than be in the evil practice of discussing what is bad. Do you know that in the Bible it commands us to not even speak of evil. That includes the popular act of warning others about so-called error and false teachers. Every instruction has a context and every context has a subject. Believers are not the subject of those instructions. We all do well to obey the Lord if we so call Him such.
Songs of Joy
Praise and Joy are connected, but they are not the same thing. When our minds are joyful it means that we are aware of the good we have in life and in turn, we are joyful. For the believer, we have all good things in Christ, even eternal life. And also, we have all good things, even suffering, for our good and His greater purposes. So as Peter will instruct the church, sometimes our joy is hard to see or express, but it is there. So, this eternal and glorious joy is ours, how is it that our joy is so diminished otherwise? Because we often sing of lament instead of joy. We should be about speaking of the blessings of life and the good in life, in the midst of what is bad, because misery loves company. A grumpy grouch can dampen the souls of a household.
Songs of Peace
We are best suited to speak and think of things that are peaceful and good. When we talk in a manner that brings forth reconciliation and hope, we are truly investing a living truth into the minds of those around us. Likewise, when we receive news and respond in peace, we offer no opportunity of discord. May people argue that the gospel is a divisive truth. That is not true except for the self righteous. Those who become so entwined with causing division by their “truth speaking” need to look in the mirror and realize they are singing death, not life. Gospel proclamaiton is always a word of peace. So, let us sing that song.
Songs of Rest
We had rather wrestle with ourselves and others than rest in good hope. Our thoughts and words are best suited for a day of resting than a day of fighting. After all, the good fight is one that rests in complete joy and peace-filled happiness in the work of Jesus for His people. So, even in the midst of great turmoil, we can remind people of resting and command them to hear the words that have power for us to rest. A restless mind is an unbelieving mind. A restless hope is despair. A restless mission is defeat. A restless heart is sickness. A restless life is death.
There are dozens of areas that can relate to our lives and how we impose our mindset and beliefs on others. For the sake of our own joy, we do well to hear wisdom and live it. To live a life of purpose doesn’t mean without suffering, it means with intention and clarity. Are you singing the song of WISDOM? How about ENCOURAGEMENT? If we are truly arresting our minds and lives by the love of Christ, then we are able to speak and act accordingly. That is truth. Any person, even those without Biblical truth, are able to be disciplined in these things. How much more can the true power of God for us provoke our joy and love for others?
What songs do you love to hear? What songs do you hope your life will truly sing?
I hope you are able to hear what I am singing. Share your song. Share your hope. Share your love.
Speaking of songs; I will talk more this week about some of my favorite songs – both in the faith and out.