Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Worship Focused on Christ

I am not a major critic of modern worship, in fact I enjoy a lot of it, but there is a portion of it where the lyrics seem to be more focused on the person doing the worshipping than on Christ. For an example of this, click here. I realize that many Christian who sing these types of songs do so for the right reasons and are actually worshipping with it, but nevertheless the focus of the song seems to be more on me as the singer than on Christ. That is why when I read the following I thought it was a good reminder of the tendency we all have of slipping into looking at ourselves and not Christ even during our times of worship, prayer, and study of the Word.


Do not be so often considering how much you love
Jesus--but how much He loves you. Your love is but
the effect; His is the cause. And the more you have
to do with the cause, the more fully will the effect
flow from it.

Just so with faith. If you would have it grow, it must
be by looking at Jesus--not by looking at your faith.

The more you "consider Him," and are continually
coming unto Him--the more lively and healthy will
be the graces of the Spirit in your soul. And you will
rejoice--not in your fruitfulness--but only in Him and
in what He has done and suffered.

-Ruth Bryan-


At Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:13:00 AM, Blogger missmellifluous said...

When I was involved in Music Minsitry we gad a similar debate amongst the bands. Some wanted to only play songs that focused on the cross, others liked the upbeat songs of a neighbouring church, others liked songs laden with heavy theology. We were taught that there are multiple purposes for Worship. Three of these are:

1) To praise God for his beautiful world/creation/works - a lot of the Psalms do this.

2)To praise and thank Christ for his amazing work at redeeming us through his death on the cross and his ressurection

3) To encourage each other to love and serve Christ and to persevere in our faith.

All of these reasons are important and Biblical.

I guess what I am saying is that, sometimes the focus may seem to be on ourselves but it is important and empowering to encourage each other through song. I can see how the song you linked to is very much about the individual; however, it is also an empowering song which acts as a statement of decision. A good church would focus its worshipers on the fact that through Jesus we are able to "trade our sorrow...[and]...shame...for the joy of the Lord."

I take your point, Doug, but think that there is a place for singing songs which encourage each other to live the Christian life, even if a lot of these seem to be focused on the individual.

Alarm bells ring for me when, through song, we start to attribute the work of Christ to ourselves. This is dangerous in that it makes us feel self sufficient.

Worship music definately needs to be theologically correct. Apart from that it may be in any style, as long as this doesn't detract from the worship and focus on the band.

Ah, but I have said enough. Worship music is a contentious issue in churches - especially as everyone has different tastes - and it is easy to demoralise a band/worship leader through scrutiny. Please guys, encourage your band members. Playing for churches is one of the hardest gigs there is.

At Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:26:00 AM, Blogger bluecollar said...


This was an excellent post! I think that Ruth Bryan (?) summed it up well:
"Just so with faith. If you would have it grow, it must
be by looking at Jesus--not by looking at your faith."


At Thursday, April 20, 2006 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Hey Miss,

I knew I was going to open a can of worms with this one, but I appreciate your thoughtful response. For the most part I don't see it as crucial issue in the church, just something we should examine ourselves about now and then.

I like your three purposes for worship, and I agree with them all. Your third one addresses the issue at hand. But I still have a question mark in my head about the best way to do that in song.

Thanks for your thoughts,


At Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:55:00 PM, Blogger Gordon Cloud said...

If music is played in church with the intention of worshipping Jesus, it should be focused upon Him.

If the message is to encourage and inspire, though, it may refer more to man's actions. Some old standards in this mold are "I Am Resolved," "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus," and "We'll Work 'Til Jesus Comes," to name a few.

The ultimate test is, "Who receives the glory for what the message of the song presents?"

At Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:41:00 PM, Blogger Jada's Gigi said...

This is so much of modern Christianity focuses on "me"...this is NOT about us!
I do htink we cna encourage one another in song but that shouldn't really be considered worship now should it...Remember the admonishment to bring songs, hymns and spiritual songs...there are certainly different types of songs and they don't all fall into the worship category but can still be useful.

At Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:01:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Thanks Gordon,

We sing all of those songs in our church and I enjoy those. Many of the psalms also have a strong focus on the writer. I just seems to me that eventually with the songs you mentioned and especially the psalms actually go into why we should be acting. They make statements of truth about God that inforce the behavior or hope of the speaker. Like "I am resolved" says,

"I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life."

Then again I could be barking up the wrong tree.

God Bless,


At Thursday, April 20, 2006 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Marvelous, I have been studying Isaac Watts lately and his hymns are amazing.

Resounding of Jesus such as "When I survey the wondrous cross"

You are exactly right we do all have a tendency to slip into ourselves and not Christ especially during worship.


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