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May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer…

~ Psalm 19:14

If you know me (or have been reading me for any amount of time) you know how I feel about music – especially praise and worship music.

For me, music is a way to relax my brain. The knots begin to come undone when I listen to good music. I really only listen to Christian music and classical (I love the violin). 

Just as your body is what you eat, your spirit is what you feed it. If you feed it violent or immoral movies and angry or foul language lyrics, guess what you are going to get.

But this isn’t about your musical choices, not really.

No, this is about what happens when you sing in church or in your car or at home – praise and worship music, I mean.

Do you listen to yourself?

Do you hear the words?

I ask because sometimes I watch people as they sing and they don’t look very happy even though the song is happy. They are singing about giving their problems to God and the wonderful promises and peace He gives us and they look just plain, no expression.

No joy.

I don’t think that they are actually listening to the words.

I mean, you don’t have to jump around joyously all the time, but once in a while you should be feeling the joy in the words you sing during praise and worship, grasping the meaning behind those words.

Are you listening to yourself?

Where is the passion? The fire?  The sheer joy in being a child of God? Now, I am not a person who shows much emotion. I know this. What is going on inside is often not what is reflected outside, but I notice that many emotive people have no expression, no joy in their eyes while they are singing (I am also not talking about when the Holy Spirit moves and people cry – that is different – I am talking about people who just don’t register anything but mouthing the words). This bothers me.

Do this, the next time you are at church or in your car or at home and you are singing a praise song (let’s randomly pick “Trading my Sorrows” by Israel Houghton) really listen to the words you are singing. Think about the words and what they mean.

“I am pressed buy not crushed,
Persecuted, not abandoned,
Struck down but not destroyed.
I am blessed beyond the curse
for His promise will endure.
His joy is gonna be my strength.
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes in the morning!”

I mean, who can’t get excited by that awesome promise! At the very least it should have you smiling – and if you aren’t feeling it, you aren’t believing it. Take the words into your heart, treasure them and allow the joy from the knowing Jesus just bubble up and out of you. It’s OK to get excited, you shouldget excited! This is really good news, especially in this world.

Let the words be a reflection of what you are feeling – let yourself feel them – and the rest of you will follow.

Lifting your hands helps too, even if you start out just holding the in front of you, palms up in supplication to God. I had to start small due to sensory issues, but now I am much better with it (God helps a lot with this). Trust me, it helps. Just reach out to Him.

If you are looking for the joy, it is right in front of you. The music can help you get there, help remind you of the wonder of God.

If you need some help, just life the corners of your mouth a little – the joy will flow if you let it.

Stop just going through the motions! Open your mouth and your heart. Joy is there, sometimes you just need to reach out to it, reach out to Jesus.

“Joy is here! WAKE UP!”

And let the JOY pour out!