That’s right. I’m talking to every one of you out there who loves the Lord. Let’s sing a new song to God.
Probably most of you are saying something like, “Uh, I can’t play an instrument, and my singing voice makes those crazy contestants auditioning for American Idol sound like Pavarotti.” But the Bible doesn’t say, “Sing a new song only if it’s good enough to be released on the next Hillsong CD.” Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Notice, though, that it does ask the instruments to play skillfully. God just wants to hear a new song sung from His people regardless of skill and ability.
But let’s back the truck up for a moment. Why does God ask us to write a new song, and what does that look like?
A new song can be one of two things:
1) It can be something spontaneous. Sometimes you just gotta sing. It could even come out during another song at church, or while listening to a beautiful orchestral song. Or maybe it just happens during your quiet time with the Lord. You sing a song to God. Only God can hear you. And God the Father, Son and Spirit won’t be sitting behind a table, sipping on product-placement Coke cups, judging you, saying, “You’re a little pitchy,” or “You’re just not right for this competition.” I guarantee you that God will delight in your sincere offering to him.
I wrote a song for my wife on our wedding day. There’s nothing particularly wonderful about the lyrics or music. On the surface its a fairly average song, and I wish that I could go back in time with the knowledge I now possess in regards to crafting a good song and re-write it. But I am guessing that she wouldn’t want me to touch it. She still asks me to sing it from time to time. Why? Because I wrote it FOR her. And I would never sing it to anyone else. She cares more about the fact that its an expression of my heart towards her than about the strength of the melody or the chord patterns.
2) A “new song” is sometimes the opposite of spontaneous. It can be something that takes you days, weeks, months or years to craft. I have found a rule at work in my life. The songs that take me the longest to write are usually the songs where God is really trying to drive a point home. For instance, I am easily swayed by the lures of this world. (I often imagine myself as one of those brainless little fish you see swimming along the bottom of the ocean that get fooled by the glow-in-the-dark baits that dangle in front of a long-toothed, ugly, vicious angler fish….as pictured below.)
I get sucked into things that really have no eternal value whatsoever. Not necessarily bad things, mind you, but things that just consume my time. Sports, movies, sports, books, sports…ugh, the list goes on. So I remember when I started writing the song Living for Eternity it was tough for me to honestly say those words, because I didn’t always feel like I was living for eternity and setting “…my sights on things above,” as scripture (and the song) asks us to do. Well, I pretty much finished the song in a few weeks. All but one line. But that one line took over a YEAR for me to come up with. And even when it finally came to me (after reading a scripture about being a “living sacrifice”) during a prayer meeting at church, I told God I needed some kind of burning bush sign that this was the right line to finish the song. After battling with the song for so long I just couldn’t believe it was done. Two minutes later someone got up to the microphone and read Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” That was the exact same scripture I had read just moments before. Message received, God. Thanks. But the point is that God taught me so much during that year about living for eternity, because while I was writing the song I was studying scripture on the topic, praying about it, reading books on the topic…the song saturated my soul.
Even had we never recorded the song or even if we had never sung it at church, it wouldn’t have mattered. What it did for my own spirit was irreplaceable.
So I encourage each of you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to prayerfully consider writing a new song. And don’t do so with the motivation to have the Newsboys cover it someday. Do it because God asks us to sing a new song to him. Maybe it will just be your personal song you sing to God driving down the road or in the shower (you might want to make sure your bathroom window is closed). But watch what God will teach you and how your own heart will be changed as you delve into your new song.
Songs are just poems that we sing. But they’re not just words. They are an expression of your heart to the One who spoke love so powerfully to all of us on the cross.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”
“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.'”