Monday, January 8, 2007

Don't kill the frog!

Did you know that not every song you hear on Christian radio is grounded in Biblical Truth? In fact, did you know that some songs that are sung in mainstream Christian churches as worship songs don't necessarily communicate the true nature of who God is? Furthermore, this cultural shift to songs with some elements of fact and some elements of fantasy furthers the gap between who God truly is and who we understand and communicate Him to be.

Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying that our mistaken perception lessens in any way God's power to bring about a clear understanding of who He is, nor am I saying that every song or speaker we hear or every book we read is bad. However, we have responsibility as Christians: take every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10:5), test every spirit (1 John 4:1). We must study to know the truth of God through scripture so that our hearts would be sensitive to subtle shifts that may not communicate that same truth. We must know the word so that we may use it as a test for the evidence of truth.

For example, it seems such a simple change, perhaps insignificant, but even a distinction between the phrase "a God" and "The God" is paramount when considering the relationship we should have with God and the truth that is communicated in our songs. Isaiah recorded "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6). A statement such as "a God" is merely a selection among many as though there were a choice. "The God" carries so much more weight. It's a firm selection, the choice.

Furthermore, "My" is an indication of ownership, of singularity. God desires that same singularity and ownership. He desires that I know Him so well that I call him "my God," just as He desires to call me, "my child." He says in Jeremiah 31:33 "... I will be their God, and they will be my people."

Additionally, we understand that God is jealous for our affection. Deuteronomy 4:24 states "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." He desires that our hearts and minds would be focused entirely on Him - consumed by Him. It is important then, that as we communicate the Word of God through songs that we communicate clearly the truth of God's all-consuming desire for us and our necessary response to Him. He wants our praise, all of it. He has no interest in us holding back.

It's been said that one can boil a frog slowly by changing the temperature little by little until soon, the frog is dead. While at some point the frog may realize the change in temperature, it may at that point be too late to escape. What's most surprising is that the frog is slow to realize the increase in temperature because his sense of temperature is tuned to his environment instead of a set temperature point. Therefore, each subtle change in temperature is imperceptible to his senses. In the same way, if our senses are not tuned to the truth of who God is through His Word then through slight cultural religious changes we may just find ourselves at the same spiritual boiling point - far from where we want to be.

Clearly not all Christian music, Christian speakers or Christian books are untruthful, so how might we avoid finding ourselves in a predicament? Here's my ideas: Consider reading your Bible instead of reading a Christian book. Consider praying instead of listening to the next tape in the series of Christian speakers. Consider an hour of quiet time alone with God instead of turning on the radio for that hour. Use Christian teaching as an encouragement, a supplement, to meeting one-on-one with God.

Need a quick way to remember this important lesson?
Just remember, "Don't kill the frog."

"God, grant me the conviction to study the scripture so that I may know you for who you are. Most of all, show me your face so that others may see your radiance on me and seek after you - that your Name may be glorified. Today, Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear. Amen."

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