And when we do, we’re simply joining in with what the rest of creation is doing.
DESIGNED TO SING
We are all singers. We may not all be very good singers, but we are all created to be singers nonetheless.
The psalmist sings, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:13–14). We have three young daughters, and it has surprised us with each of them how early they could sing. Simple melodies with mumbled words grew into phrases like “O sing happylujah,” or a bizarre mixture of “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” To sing is written into our human DNA; it is part of God’s design. Our desire to make musical instruments to accompany our singing is as old as our desire to fashion tools to aid us in our daily work (Gen. 4:21–22). Throughout Scripture and through history, we see God’s people using this gift of song to praise Him, the Giver of it.
Your ability to sing is fearfully and wonderfully made. Around the twelve-week mark, the vocal cords of a baby growing in the womb are in place and have been shown to work long before the baby is born. We may sound different, but each of us has the same vocal apparatus (you, us, Bono, Pavarotti, Sinatra)—breath flowing up from our lungs, vibrating through vocal cords in our throat, and pushing sound out through the articulators of our mouths, tongues, and lips. Singing is not merely a happy by-product of God’s real intent of making us creatures who can speak. It is something we’re designed to be able to do.
But not only that, God designed our psyche for singing. When singing praise to God, so much more than just the vocal box is engaged. God has created our minds to judge pitch and lyric; to think through the concepts we sing; to engage the intellect, imagination, and memory; and to remember what is set to a tune (we are confident that, right now, 99 percent of this book’s readers can remember more lyrics set to music than can recite Scripture by rote). God has formed our hearts to be moved with depth of feeling and a whole range of emotion as the melody-carried truths of who God is and whose we are sink in.
WHAT IF I “CAN’T SING”?
Sometimes we meet people who say, “I can’t sing”—as in, “The sound that comes out of my mouth when I try to sing is not what I was hoping for.”
Perhaps this is you, and you can recall an awkward conversation as a child when you were asked to mouth the words, rather than sing them; or when it was suggested that being a member of your school or church choir might not be the best fit for your gifts.
But if you can speak, you can physically sing. The truth is that God designed you to sing and gave you everything you need to sing, as well as He wants you to. He’s far less concerned with your tunefulness than your integrity. Christian singing begins with the heart, not on the lips (Eph. 5:19).
Because they are very little and are at different stages of learning to sing, when our daughters sing together, the older is more confident than the middle one, who is in turn more fluent than the youngest. This may change as they all get older, but the point is this—to their parents’ ears, each voice is not only as important as the others but is as treasured as the others. Your heavenly Father cares whether and what you sing, but He does not mind how well you sing. While we may have choirs within our churches made up of voices who have expertise and ability, the congregation of a church is the ultimate choir, and it is without auditions—everyone can be in it and should be in it.
The true beauty of such a congregational choir is that our voices and our hearts are knit together in praise. It is exhilarating to be part of a body of believers singing truth together. We recently met with a missionary to China who was home on furlough in America. After the singing, he said how wonderful it was to be able to sing freely with other believers again, for the part of China he lived in imposed heavy restrictions on such a thing. “Oh, how my heart misses the singing,” he said. Your voice may not be of professional standard, but it is of confessional standard.
Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017).
We have just released a new Bible Study on the importance of singing.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.