Wednesday, November 24, 2010

With What Shall I Be Filled?

Today I observed happening a thing that the Lord often works in my daily activities. Suddenly a hymn entered into my awareness and I began humming and whistling it, and then another. Two things additionally occurred:

First, I thought: “Wow! Why am I so happy?” I was running late. I was preparing for a long day of hard work, switching from my pickup to my chipper truck, transferring tools, etc. The sky was overcast and gray and gloomy. Yet these hymns filled my heart and mind and spirit and I was inexplicably happy.

Secondly, having started the truck, the radio was on, and the songs from the radio began playing. I immediately switched off the radio, thinking, “Argh, I don’t want that stuff in my head!” That is the way it works. Whatever stupid, often even unholy, junk that plays on the radio becomes embedded in me so that I cannot make it go away. I did not want that stuff to supplant what the Spirit had given me to fill me.

My wife rarely turns on her radio. She often listens to tapes of hymns, instead. Wise woman!

St. Paul affirms this practice, saying:

     Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)

     And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

I made one statement above that is only partially true. I said that once the worldly junk becomes embedded in me that I cannot make it go away. This is true. However, if I begin singing one of the powerful hymns that I have memorized, the Lord removes the junk for me. His gracious words and the tune of the hymn shove the rest of the junk back out where it belongs and I am filled with His grace, mercy, and peace again. A good and solid hymn has to power to clear my head of anything that does not belong. Even frustration and anger must give way to the rich hymns.

The music to which we listen is very powerful in its effect.

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