Thursday, June 17, 2010

O Worshiper: Shame on Me, Shame on You!

It has been ages since I last dropped an entry to my blog… in the recent events of my life, I went through a lot of suffering, challenges, trials, and to be honest I am not sure if these burdens are really through… and as to my other burdens, I know God has a plan to bring them all in to fruition, in His time.

Recently, I was faced with issues regarding priorities, personal dreams, and even comparisons to the success of others, which I selfishly thought I deserved more. Shame on me. Shame on me. Sometimes, promotions, successes, blessings of others make us feel uncomfortable, and to the extent we think we deserve it more than other people. Well, though I knew it, I believed it, I was smacked in the head for actually feeling it. Before I shame myself more, I thank God for putting me back to my senses.

One of my pastors told me regarding that issue was that God wasn’t concerned with my temporal success (in this world), but He was more concerned in how I reflect His Son. I put that in my wall post in Facebook, and instantly, a lot of my friends felt the same encouragement/rebuke from that statement. Putting my own life experiences into that perspective, I found a lot of errors in my life and how I worshipped God personally.

Bear with me as I bare my heart. Again, shame on me. Shame on me. I’ve written a lot of wonderful songs which I believe was impressed upon my heart by the Scriptures and by truths I’ve learned from God. Semantically, I can’t say they’re written by God Himself because that would equate my songs with the Bible! So, I safely say these songs were impressed upon my heart by the Scriptures and by truths from God. Going back to my point, I enjoy writing for God’s people when they worship, I enjoy writing for encouragement, challenge, edification, even rebuke, and in all honesty I desired God’s glory in all that I do. I know my heart wanted to glorify God more and exalt Him in all my music. That is probably why the church (at least my home church) loves the music I write for worship, because they’re all for God’s glory.

But in light of recent events, I noticed my heart began to change. Some motives weren’t right. Some plans were selfish. Some of my desires were for personal gain. In this blog, I want everyone to know my dreams and frustrations. My personal dream is to see the nations worship. Yup, until now I desire that, before I lay to rest I desire that to happen. The way I see this to happen is for me to be used by God to write music that does exactly what I wrote above. Being a University of the Philippines student, I desired for my country to be placed on the music map, so I challenged myself to write our own music that would be loved by many churches around the world. Not only did I desire to bless God, but the Body of Christ as well. Now, I prayed that the Lord would lead me to people who can help me record these songs He has allowed me to write, produce them, distribute them to many people/countries, etc, and that way I could somehow indirectly lead people into worship and realize my dream of seeing the nations worship God. But after many connections, many opportunities with local and foreign artists, I still am left with nothing but a dream. A very noble, Godly and spiritual dream in the onset right? Nay, I realized it isn’t. No matter how spiritual I make it sound, it is tainted with the single-lettered word: “I”.

I felt God’s loving rebuke as I was singing worship songs in my room this evening, I noticed something wrong in the right things that I do. I was more concerned with the new tuning my guitar had (open D tuning),and I was more concerned with my voice’s timbre, style, and even thinking of how the song would be LIKED by the people, how the musicians would enjoy playing this one, and how this would sound instrumentally.. while worshipping God(multi tasking!). That mood can only be allowed in creative occasions, when, though it is also worship, we as artists try to make a song-offering better, and more smoothly written, musically sound, and poetically consistent. Now, I want to make it clear that this isn’t the same mood when I wrote my songs…Exact opposite. My mood this time was: I know I can sound better, sing better, play guitar better, write music better, be a better musician than so and so, WHILE I WAS WORSHIPPING GOD! Scary. And I felt so spiritual too! (See, feelings and emotions aren’t the best gauge for worship) And then in my Bible reading after, I read this simple verse: "Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it."
Numbers 21:17

I saw that Israel sang when the Lord has done great things. They sang in response to something God has done. It was all about Him. Psalms 103 says “Bless the Lord,O my soul, and all that is within me,bless His holy name!”. But when I was singing tonight, I realized I was singing so that I could be deemed a better worshipper by other people, not by God. I lost sight of the true meaning of worship! It was FOR God! I sing to praise Him, not to be praised and appreciated by other musicians! And in effect, that’s all I can get if I had that heart: appreciation from “lesser” musicians. The Ultimate Musician (God) wasn’t at all pleased with my heart, much less my music. It was a mediocrity if sang/written with a selfish motive.

I know how easily I fall into the trap of the carnal body I have. I pray that my fellow worshippers would stop worshipping music, even their ministries, stop trying to reach others more than reaching God Himself, stop advancing our own bands, our names, our churches, our organizations in “His” name, when we know they are all tainted with the word “I”.

I know I am prone to fall into this category in a matter of days, weeks, so I seek for God’s grace and rebuke. But if you, O believer, should look into your own soul and find that we have the same troubles, same struggles, well, shame on you too. Shame on you. Wake up to the fact that it’s all for God, and that’s all that matters.

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