Can singing affect my spiritual relationship with the Lord? Would singing praises to my King even outside of the worship service actually help bring more of the peace of Christ to dwell in my heart? I didn’t realize that the Word of God consistently taught that regularly singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs could even improve my personal relationships, did you? Well, if this is news to you, then like me, you might have been someone who very often finds yourself reading your Bible a verse here and a verse there, depending upon what lesson or topic we are studying. Or maybe we are reading our Bible too quickly and not really dwelling on all that the Lord wanted us to see in the context of the writing.
How can I as a child of God, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a grandmother, etc. encourage myself , as well as those around me to do better in this area of spiritual growth? We will look contextually at Colossians 3:15-4:1, Ephesians 5:18-6:9. Paul quite obviously has parallel verses for us to consider.
Beginning with Colossians 3:15,16 we read “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 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.”
This is most often used when we are studying about singing together as the body of Christ during worship. While that is always a productive and useful study of this section of text, when we think contextually, we will find even more nuggets of information to grasp. I have to admit; things like this make studying the Bible even more fun! I was so excited when in a class taught by Dan Owen, with his help, I observed all of this and found so many connections that I had never seen before.
Did you notice in verse 15 Paul admonishes us to allow the peace of Christ to RULE our hearts. HOW do we do this? Paul tells us how in the next verses… “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,” and this is followed by the verses that we are all so familiar with about singing and how to sing. Do I want Christ to rule my heart? Of course I do! Do I want Christ to dwell RICHLY within me! Absolutely! Then of course, I want to obey this command. That seems simple enough.
But this goes even further. If I am going to think contextually, then I am going to read on. Verse 17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” What kinds of words and deeds could the Lord, through Paul’s writing be referring to? Well, once again, let’s read on in the Word to find out…
Verse 18 reads, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
Could this have anything to do with singing? Could our relationships with one another be strengthened if we regularly sing? Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5:18-6:9. In Ephesians 5:18 we read, “be filled with the Spirit.” Once again, I can ask myself, “Do I want to be more spiritually mature?” Absolutely! HOW can this be accomplished? Read on! Verse 19 and following say, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Is this starting to sound familiar to you?
Did you also notice verse 21 admonishes us to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ? Continuing in Ephesians 5:22-6:9, we read that once again, we are told what is expected of us as fellow Christians. If you take the time to read it on your own, you will find it is parallel to the end of the section that we read in Colossians. There seems to be a connection between our spiritual growth and whether Christ will be the ruler of our hearts to all of our relationships on this earth. In both places of scripture, the Lord tells us to SING! What a beautiful and loving method for our Lord to help us grow!
So let us all find ways to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spirituals songs. Start singing daily to your children. Teach them songs. Maybe pick one song each week and explain the words so that they understand the meaning and sing it everyday so they can sing along and you all can memorize it and really sing it with your hearts. Sing with them together at night when Dad gets home. Sing together with your husband at night while the children are going to sleep so that the little ones hear the songs as they slumber and so the two of you bond in the Lord. Sing with your friends. Sing outside so the neighbors will hear. Sing in the park; who knows who will walk by and want to hear more. Sing songs about Jesus and sear Him into your hearts and let His love rule over you. Sing spiritual songs and become more spiritual. SING!!
By Laura Warnes
Laura Warnes and her husband Jon serve with the Miller Street church of Christ. Jon works at the Bear Valley Bible Institute where he serves as Alumni Director. Laura is a homeschooling mom to their seven children still at home, (two have flown the coup) and is also a proud grandma to four beautiful grandchildren.