Oh how I wish I lived in a TV series. Actually, all I really want is just the theme music. How cool would it be if you had an orchestra or something following you around that began to play slow dramatic music just before something bad happened to warn you. Wouldn’t walking down an ordinary hallway be extraordinary if you had upbeat, in-step happy music? Imagine that business meeting or school presentation that could sway the hearts of millions if only delivered atop the most compelling soundtrack. Likewise, ministers since King David have understood that contrition, contemplation, or consecration before God are enhanced atop the backdrop of music. Music makes everything easier.
That’s probably why we make the most dramatic proclamations during times of musical worship. Insert tweet about how the Planetshakers are shaking my world right now. Tears of acceptance like raindrops easily flow during Laura Story’s “Blessings.” Oh, what a contrite heart of repentance we lift before the Father during that closing song. Faith flows boldly during anything by Elevation Worship. But brace yourself...I’ve got some news. God requires obedience all 168 hours of the week, not just the 2 you spend at church. If we don’t really mean it, why sing it? The evidence God is in your worship has little to do with emotion and everything to do with what happens when the music ends.
I understand if you need to take a moment to let this earth shattering truth sink in before returning to finish the article. Rededicating your life was beautiful all 14 times you went to summer camp. All to Jesus you’ve surrendered every single week during that compelling convocation your pastor so skillfully gives. But here is what God has to say about it in 1 Samuel 15: 22 to king Saul. “And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”
The prophet instructs our daily modus operandi with this simple phrase: “To obey is better than sacrifice.” As a little kid listening to the radical testimonies of former drug addicts and prison inmates, I often sat in wonder, pondering and planning for the testimony I would one day bring. I told my dad once, “I’m gonna get me a testimony one day.” And sadly, I did.
For years I faked it. I masked a most wicked heart trapped by the bondage of addiction and adultery with valiant motives and ministerial monologue. I hurt people. I missed the mark. And then, one day it happened. In a worship experience. God broke me. Though my testimony over the reflective stylings of the keys and atmospheric pads was beautiful, I would have much preferred consistent obedience over emotionally charged surrender.
I’m not downing the terrific testimonies yet to come. I hope our social media feeds can be filled with ethereal backed stories of transformation. What I’m getting at is, you don’t have to wait for the music to bow before the master. And if you’re living that “boring” life of consistent service to the Lord, be aware, that’s God’s favorite song. Better than your bestie riding shotgun with a Spotify subscription on shuffle; when obedience is your story, the still small voice of the Savior will be your perpetual soundtrack.