Then Sings My Soul
One of the teenagers on our Buildings and Grounds team tends to sing while she works. She often makes me smile as I hear her coming down the hall raising her voice in praise, whether she’s running the vacuum, or emptying the trash. Perhaps that is why she maintains such a good attitude while she does her tasks.
But singing out loud isn’t necessary to please God. Paul talks about singing and making music in our hearts (Eph. 5:19), and it seems like this is in keeping with the title of our anthem, “Then Sings My Soul.” There are several places in scripture which indicate that what comes out of our mouths is the overflow of our hearts. So it is very often true that a soul or heart that sings praises will more likely give praises from the lips, as well.
However, there are those of us who are of a quieter, less verbally demonstrative nature whose soul will be more likely to keep the song in their heart than give voice to it. That may stem from our quiet nature, or from a host of insecurities, but, given Paul’s comments, it’s obviously fine to give praise in our hearts, as long as long as our spirits are giving praise to the Lord from our very hearts and souls. When our beings are worshipping and delighting in Him, our “voice” is a sweet savor to His ear.
If we find ourselves with less soul singing than we’d like, it actually works to reverse the process a bit. We can view singing as a spiritual discipline. Like other spiritual disciplines, we practice it in order to develop intimacy with the Lord, and focus our hearts in His direction. Think about that: with spiritual disciplines we don’t only pray when we feel like it, we pray as response, but we also pray because we should. We don’t only read the scripture when we feel drawn, we read it because we need to. All the disciplines have the dual characteristics of practicing them because we need to, and also when we want to. So as the song “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” says, “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,” sometimes our emotions and gratitude fuel our singing. But we also sing when we are feeling burdened or sad because doing so points our hearts in the correct direction.
Like Psalms 42 and 43 demonstrate, we talk (or sing) to our souls: “Why are you downcast oh my soul? …My soul will yet praise Him….” And as the hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul,” coaches us, whether things are coming apart or falling together, we sing that it is well with our souls.
The more we exercises this discipline of soul song the more we will experience a life of spontaneous praise (whether verbalized or not), and the more we will sense that wellness of soul that will transcend our circumstances.
Before we sing this anthem, let’s spend some time contemplating what it is about our relationship with God that makes our souls sing. And if we find our souls have a deficit of spontaneous melody, let’s spend a season in the discipline of song, and see what effect it might have on our intimacy with Him. Before long our soul songs will be filled with praises for how great He is!
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries