Worship can be defined as the creation’s reverent reaction to God’s all-pervasive magnificence. Worship is and must be about God, for His majesty is unmatched. (See Isaiah 6:1–6; Exodus 15:11; Psalm 148:1–14). The focal point of our energies through a well-lived life is God, and God alone. Worship is not about us! Yet too often, we make worship out to be something it should not be. It slips into something that seeks to satisfy or appease our broken souls. Yes, music can inspire and even reassure us of God’s wonderful grace. But, if worship is not about and directed to God Himself, it is not worship at all, but music.
Paul writes; “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:18–21) It seems to me, from Paul’s instruction to the saints in Ephesus, there is a place for all kinds of music in the church. Yes, all kinds. However, let’s not confuse a song that is meant to bring courage to the hearts of the believers in the church with a song that brings joy to the heart of the Holy One in heaven. Just because we hear a song on the radio or sing it in church does not automatically make it worship.
We must remember that music is just like any other art. It is a tool of the image bearers of God. God made us to make and enjoy music thoroughly. Music can be powerful, persuasive, soulful, and cerebral. Therefore, consider how much God wants to hear the music of His people. (See Psalm 150:1ff) As imperfect and incomplete as our worship music can often be, the more profound question is, does it bless the heart of God, and bring Him joy, as we declare to the world His Unmatched Majesty with our finite understanding?