Recently, I asked a group of children why they thought we should sing in church. They gave a myriad of answers, all of which were good. They said we sing to worship God; and that we sing because we love Jesus. They said we sing because it sounds pretty; and that we sing because we're happy. Certainly we hope this is the case for all who lift their voices in a worship service. But there is another, often neglected aspect of singing in church. The Bible says: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16 NASB)
Part of the reason we sing in church is to teach and encourage both ourselves and each other. Every song we sing in church should contain within it Biblical truth that will strengthen the people of God. Think about this as you sing. What Bible passage might this song be teaching? And if the song is simply a “feel good” number that doesn't teach anything Biblical; it should be tossed aside for something that edifies. In our world today, feelings and emotions often trump truth and accuracy. In all honesty these things should not be pitted against one another. For the Christian, truth should touch the heart in such a way that joyful feelings and emotions are the result. We should sing about doctrinal truths. And we should rejoice in the reality of them.
So next time you sing in church; think about what you are singing. Is it Biblical? And if it is, do you really mean it? Are the lyrics to the song edifying you and others who hear? Because this is one of the Biblical reasons for singing in a church service.
Those who have had their hearts changed by the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus have reason to sing. They have reason to rejoice. And they have a Biblical command to “teach and admonish” one another in song. Lift up your voice and glorify God this Sunday. And help your brothers and sisters in Christ to glorify God as well. Maybe even sing in such a way that an unbeliever in your presence would be intrigued as to why you have such joy. Then “give a reason for the hope that is within you.” (1 Peter 3:15) Singing is much more than just making a joyful noise. It is also about proclaiming the truth of God. Commit yourself to doing this each and every time you sing a song unto the Lord.