It’s been a topic of much cogitation over the past few years and has even been the subject of a few posts. (although none of them are able to capture the profoundness of it) Recently, a post on Carols site brought it to my attention once again. While the post is a solid discussion of holiness, an observation was made concerning some of what passes today for “christian music.” A notable portion of todays most popular songs are catchy, but light in content, and occasionally, borderline cheesy, as more focus is placed on the entertainment factor than moving the heart. This is not a blanket observation of everything that passes for christian music these days; nor is it a questioning of anyones heart or motivation. It’s simply an observation of a trend that seems to gain momentum with each passing year. Before going any further, here are two links; the first being to the post on Carols site that’s alluded to above:
Sometimes there almost seems to be a kind of “disconnect” as it were between the spiritual melodies of this world and those that permeate the atmosphere of heaven. This is by no means, a criticism of the wonderful worship songs, penned by those who have had a personal encounter with Jesus, which have come forth over the years. Such anointed compositions will always draw the true worshippers closer to the Lord as they consider the awesomeness of our God and our great salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s just that the harmonies that ring through the atmosphere of heaven are far beyond even the most stirring spiritual songs that have ever been composed in this realm. Melodies so incredible that this theater of atoms simply couldn’t contain them.
It’s a thing which continues tointrigue me much. The only thing that even seems somewhat close to it is when we find ourselves singing in the Spirit. The melodies are of such that they really cannot be assigned to any of the worlds musical styles. . They come forth in those moments of heavenly sweetness and fellowship with Jesus. Encounters so incredible that none of the worlds promises (so called) can ever compete; nor can any of the enemies threatenings diminish. Such moments result in the everlasting things becoming more real to us, while the temporal things just seem to become increasingly irrelevant. As we become closer to Jesus, we will increasingly desire to engage in heavenly conversation and find no fulfilment in that which focuses on the “here.” For this reason, I cannot help but wonder how the life of the saint mentioned in the following verse was affected by what was revealed to him.
II Corinthians 12:1-4 “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How he was caught into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
The apostle Paul is telling about a saint who heard a heavenly vocabulary that cannot be found in this world. The following aspects of this account stand out as “fascinating” and should enhance our desire to let go of anything that’s causing separation between us and the Lord Jesus.
( 1 ) The fact that Paul rehearses an event that transpired over fourteen years prior, reveals that it’s not an everyday occurrence. This is possibly because most of us couldn’t hear such things and still be capable of functioning in this world. How could one find the motivation to go to work in the morning when they had just seen “and heard” glory the night before?
( 2 ) Paul could not tell if they were in the body or out; a fact that he mentions two times. I remember reading in Frank Bartlemans account of the Azuza Street revival that many times he would go to the site late in the evening and find another brother who had likewise been awakened and called to go there. They would be in prayer for what seemed like only a few minutes, but soon discover that the sun was coming up and that the meeting had lasted the entire night. He stated that the ambience was so sweet that when others came by in the morning, the casual conversation of everyday events seemed very harsh and cold.
( 3 ) This man saw the third heaven and heard the resonance thereof. He was granted an “appetizer” so to speak, of that which will endure forever. I’m thinking that, after such an encounter, one would have such a mindset for the world to come that, from that moment forward, all engagement in the physical world would be toward the furtherance of the kingdom of God. Forget the career path, forget the large home on the lake, forget all of the things that folks routinely seek to enslave themselves to, forget the popularity contests, forget anything that would work to tether us to this temporal setting.
When thinking of the age to come, a number of aspects are gravitated to by those who are in Christ. Our first and foremost desire is to be forever in the presence of the Lord. That moment when we see him as he is and know that from henceforth we’ll never again have to travel through a wilderness of sin and temptation. This thought in itself is so incredible that even as I type, I’m desiring to let forth a shout that would awaken everyone in the house. (I’m sorry Kimmy; I was just thinking about Jesus) Other aspects that people think about much are the mansions, the streets of gold, the sea of glass mingled with fire, whereupon stand the saints who were victorious over the beast, the untold thousands of saints from every tribe and generation gathered together, and what have you.
But for me, the melodies of the everlasting are of a fascination; to the point that, during prayer, I occasionally ask for a preview. It’s something that I think of a lot and perhaps it’s why sometimes the amount of time spent singing in the Spirit exceeds the amount of time spent praying and singing with the understanding combined. It’s not a planned thing; it just happens as I ponder the awesomeness of the Lord and think about that heavenly chorus continuously giving glory to God. I’ve never heard this chorus, but I know that it has a profoundly sweet sound which flows like a river; every note and every syllable bringing glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. It does not contain a driving beat or harsh utterances. It’s pure praise unto God with absolutely no fleshly minglings. The true worshippers will hear and join in as the name of Jesus is lifted up.
I apologize if my thoughts seem to be wandering and I’m not sure as to why I’m once again compelled to bring this topic up. I guess it’s an admonition to ensure that we are worshipping the Lord Jesus in sincerety and not settling for flesh-friendly noise with a few christian words mingled in. (What Carols post refers to as “7-11 songs”) Likewise, we should give all diligence to ensure that our worship; even if we’re singing one of the greatest spiritual songs of all time, is from the heart and not simply an excercise of the lips. And finally, the understanding that; regardless of what may have crossed our ears in this realm, the truth is that “we haven’t seen or heard anything yet.” I CAN HARDLY WAIT! Well I’ll close for now. Blessings always in Jesus name.
Psalm 104:33-34 “I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.”
Psalm 118:14 “The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”
I Corinthians 2:9-10 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”