Use Your Own Words


I learned early on in my marriage that cards are important to my wife!  There’s nothing like receiving a card for a holiday and not having one to give back.  Then you have to have that awkward conversation why you didn’t realize Groundhog Day was a card-giving holiday.

I think we all love receiving cards.  There’s something about the time and effort put into giving a card that makes us feel special when we receive it.

Hallmark makes great cards.  Their writers know how to use poetry and other sentiments to say things that make your heart warm.  But, have you ever received a Valentine’s Day card that says something beautiful, warms your heart, and maybe even brings a tear to your eye and then you notice the giver simply signs their name to the card, without a personal message?  If the card is given to someone you care about, probably not that often.  I’m sure I’ve done this at some point in my younger years of marriage, but I’ve been “trained” by now.

My wife loves receiving cards, but what she really loves is when I write a personal note in the card.  When I use my own words to tell her how special she is to me, the card means that much more to her.

Singing a song to God, that someone like Chris Tomlin wrote, is a lot like giving a Hallmark card to God.  He LOVES receiving them.  He absolutely loves when we worship him through singing.  However, I think it becomes even more special when we personalize our worship time by singing a new song out of the overflow of our love for Him.

I’m a songwriter, so please don’t think I’m diminishing pre-written songs that we sing to God.  They are an important and valuable part of our worship and community.

So What Do You Mean By Singing A New Song?

I should be clear about what I’m proposing when I say “sing a new song”.  The following verses are 3 examples from scripture about singing a new song:

Psalm 33:3 – Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.

Isaiah 42:10 – Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.

Revelation 5:9-10 – And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

You will notice that these verses don’t come with instructions — no “how to” manual for the worshiper.  Some have instruments included. Some have specific words.  And there seems to be a feeling of joy in each of them.  

When I read them, I sense an overflowing of the worshiper’s heart.  As if their heart is filled up with praise for God and the new song is an overflow out of their heart.  

That’s what I mean by singing a new song out of the overflow of your heart.  Don’t be content to merely sing a song, but, using the card analogy, write a special note to Him by letting your heart express your joy, gratitude, and praise in that moment.

It can be as easy as personalizing a line from a song you’ve sung or just singing a simple song of thanks for something God has done in your life or spoken to you.  Adding these moments in the context of personal or corporate (congregational) worship will not only bless God, but better posture your heart towards him.

You want me to…what?

I realize that for some of us it would not be normal to “sing a new song” as I’m proposing in the context of corporate worship.  I’m not suggesting that you sing at the top of your lungs in an environment where that wouldn’t be appropriate.  However, maybe you could do it quietly to yourself.

Still, for others this practice, privately or corporately, would stretch our sensibilities.  I totally get it.  I’ve been there and felt those feelings.  But this is a challenge to step out and give God what He deserves and what, I believe, our hearts long to give Him.  

Let me quickly remind you of a story from 2 Samuel 6.  David is bringing the ark back to Jerusalem.  He is dancing before the Lord in his undergarments.  All of Israel is overjoyed that the ark is making its way to Jerusalem.  When he arrives at the city his wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, chastised him saying, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”

Listen to the way David, a man after God’s own heart, responded to her, “I was dancing before the Lord…and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes.”  

The Bible makes a point to say that Michal remained barren for the rest of her life.

Friends, I’m not asking you to do anything the Holy Spirit isn’t leading to you.  I am, though, hoping that we would learn to let the overflow of our heart spill out without fear of looking foolish or undignified.  Then, the signature with which we sign our card to God will make His heart warm and bring a smile to His face.

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