We were 100% designed for freedom. Sadly, we don’t often live like it. What limits us?
Fear of Man
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. (Galatians 1:10)
We are called to love and serve people, not please them. Who do you mentally “check with” before responding to a prompting? Being a people pleaser is a sin issue. We are to please Christ. We must place His voice and His pleasure above every other pleasure, including our own.
(That’s a euphemism for selfishness.)
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
We can miss the purpose of our freedom. We’re freed to serve one another in love.
Skill and Over-preparation
We can be so “ready” that we become inflexible to the moment. We have our script all memorized and fail to have a conversation. We play the music instead of interpreting it. We go through the motions as if we were one of the tracks on the loop.
Or we can be so “good” on our instrument that we check out and do everything as if we were in a vacuum. But we’re not.
When we’re not prepared...
We can’t sing out.
Sure, we can hum-sing it. We can get most of the words out. But we certainly can’t belt or sing from the heart. Why is this important? Well, we’re not commanded to “declare the lovingkindness of the Lord... in our hearts.” It’s “... with our mouths” and with “all my heart, soul, mind, and strength!”
We can’t be creative.
It’s like there’s a “hierarchy of needs” in playing music. Let me explain. I don’t complain about a slow internet connection when I haven’t had food to eat for a week. I don’t think about the color of my swim trunks when I’m trying desperately to swim back to the surface of the water so I can breathe again. Likewise, I can’t express myself creatively if I am just playing through the chords on the page if I’m just trying to find a good strumming pattern that fits the feel of the song. Why is this important? Well, if I can’t express myself creatively, why not just play the original recording right from YouTube?
We can’t worship
There may be a moment or two in the service where we can respond to God’s revelation. But most of the time, we focus on the notes, rhythms, and arrangements. Why is this important? Two reasons: it misses the whole point, and it provides a terrible model for the congregation to follow.
We can’t do the actual job of the team of worshipers.
Singing and playing while worshiping gives you basic “permission to play.” It’s like having the recipe, ingredients, knowledge, and tools to cook...and then cooking, but never figuring out how to get your family to eat the food so they get the nutrition they need. Follow me here.
We get on autopilot a whole lot as congregations. We miss “God moments.” We don’t connect as deeply as we could to the Truth found in the songs we sing. Why is this important? Well, it’s a big part of our job as teams (and leaders especially) to activate each other, to enable the revelation (so we can respond), to help the congregation “get” what we’re doing, and see the beauty of the moment.
So let’s fear God, not man. Let’s be selfless and appropriately prepared.