July 3, 2016

Psalm 71:23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I, whom you have redeemed.

There is nothing more joyful than singing genuine praise to God. The Bible is filled with examples, but so few people seem to take it to heart and experience it for themselves. Today’s message is on “Singing to God,” but words alone will not communicate the glorious reality that is praise and worship to God; it has to be experienced. In so many churches today “worship” is a spectator sport, and that isn’t worship at all. Too many preachers consider the “worship team” to be an opener for their act, and when that’s the case, that’s all it is. Ministering in Japan as I do, I have been to many conferences that had foreign speakers with interpretation. I have seen some such speakers worship even when they didn’t understand the words, but too many times I have seen them slip into the auditorium only just before they were to speak, or if they were earlier, spend the time with their notes rather than in worship. The most carefully crafted lecture will not have a fraction of the impact of words spoken by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of someone who worships in spirit and in truth. Worship isn’t really for God’s benefit, though it pleases Him. Rather, worship is to get our hearts in line with Him, allowing us free access to Him by the Holy Spirit. That is a privilege beyond the power of human language to express.

Growing up in a family that loved God I had many opportunities to worship, but I also experienced the reality of the saying that familiarity breeds contempt. Church was in Japanese, and since many of the hymns were translated into archaic Japanese (just as a number of English hymns use language that is archaic today) I often “tuned out,” singing the notes but not actually worshiping at all. When we sang as a family at home it was in English, and there were some times of real worship there. However, I experienced the full joy of singing praise and worship only after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit as an adult. Interestingly, I was back in Japan at that time, and I indeed learned to worship in both languages. Now, the majority of my worship is in Japanese, but with full understanding and participation. Today I have an opportunity to help people understand what they see me doing week after week, but my words alone certainly won’t accomplish that. I’ve got to be fully submitted to the Holy Spirit so that He can get through to people through me.

Father, I know that You actively seek those who will worship You in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24) May I be such a worshiper, and may I be fully useful to You in leading others to worship You fully as well, for their eternal blessing and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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