As mentioned in my last devotion, our office had a major computer crash this past week. We are making headway on restoring a week's worth of work which has disappeared into cyberspace. It is painstaking and sometimes disheartening. However, there has been a bright spot in my week and one that I look forward to each Thursday evening. I attend choir practice. By God's grace, as we work on songs meant for our time of worship on Sunday, my spirit is lifted above the mundane things of this world. Not only do we sing but we have sweet fellowship, prayer time, devotions. This is like a cold drink in an otherwise tiring week.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes these well-known verses: "....addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:19-21). This is what it means to experience real "koinonia" or intimate fellowship. As we sing, and encourage one another, it is impossible to remain discouraged about life.
When I was still living at home, I remember that my father enjoyed singing some of his favorite hymns. He had learned to play the organ by colored keys and would sit in the evening playing "Sweet Hour of Prayer" along with other hymns in his song book. He derived joy from spending time with the Lord in this manner.
Praise lifts us up as we focus more on God and less on ourselves. Paul reiterates the importance of praise in Colossians 3:16 reads: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." If we look closely at this verse, Paul puts teaching and encouraging one another right up there with singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. This is what comprises true worship of God.
If we look at Paul's own witness, we see him in a prison praying and singing hymns along with Silas (Acts 16:25) while the other prisoners listened to them. Certainly, this had to be unusual for two people threatened by the authorities and locked up. However, Paul found the key to keeping his perspective by keeping his focus on God rather than his circumstances.
Simply reading through the Book of Psalms, we see many references to singing praise to God: Psalm 100:1-2; Psalm 95:1-2; Psalm 150:1-6; Psalm 147:1; Psalm 71:8 to name a few. Each of these Psalms encourages us to praise and make melody in our hearts towards God.
I do not know what kind of a week you have had or what your circumstances are, but I do know that as we sing and worship the Lord, He lifts us up as well. Therefore, if you get down, try singing your way up again. Remember too, that God inhabits the praises of His people. Begin today to lift up your voice in song and praise the Lord. Selah!