Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)Context: Ephesians 5:8-21
When you sing in church, do you worship God inwardly or merely go through the motions? Is your mind on what the song expresses or off somewhere else? When my daughter, Caitlin, was a baby, I used to rock her to sleep while listening to Twila Paris' album, Sanctuary, a collection of hymns. One evening I dozed as John Wesley's hymn, "Arise, My Soul, Arise" played. In a dream I sang this song in Heaven. People in Heaven stared at me as if to say, "How can you sing like that?"
I answered, "Why don't you sing, too? Don't you know? In Heaven we don't have the old physical limitations. We sing from the heart."
After that dream, my concerns about singing changed. I used to be more concerned about external sound. Too often I sang the familiar songs in worship with my mind somewhere else. Since then, I've resolved to worship God in spirit as I sing. As we grow older, our voices deteriorate, but our ability to sing with the heart only increases as we mature in Him. To rehearse for Heaven's choir, sing with your heart.
God hears our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7; Luke 16:15) louder than our voices. He wants our external expression to come from adoring hearts (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13; Matthew 12:7; Mark 12:32-34).