By William F. Holland Jr., Ph.D.
Ordained/Licensed Christian minister
Most of us have heard the 1969 song, “More Today than Yesterday” by the band Spiral Staircase. The chorus says, “I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.” I had not heard it for a while, but I’m sensitive to music and often a song will trigger my emotions and then I start asking the Lord about what is the hidden message within the music. It’s a catchy tune that has a happy bounce to it, much like what someone feels when they are in love. However, despite this song being listed as what is called, a “one-hit wonder” it has a powerful spiritual consideration that goes far beyond the idea of two young people daydreaming about each other.
I thought of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ and wondered why we do not think about God as this song talks about being infatuated with another human. What a powerful declaration to tell God that our love for Him will grow stronger each day. The concept of falling in love with God and then building and progressing in our intimate relationship with Him is not in the same category as going through the motions of a religious ritual. The measuring of our fervency is mentioned in God’s word as hot being filled with the Holy Spirit, while the lethargic attitude is commonly referred to as lukewarm, and the backslidden state where we have drifted far away from God is depicted as being spiritually cold and desensitized. Where would you estimate your spiritual condition today?
I’ve been writing Christian music and leading church worship services since the early ‘80s and have discovered the ultimate expression of worship and adoration is “I love you.” We can try to find more verbal attributes that describe how we feel about the one we exalt and praise, but there is nothing in our vocabulary that can go beyond or be more convincing than these three little words. Some individuals have never really come out and said, “I love you God” and many others have not said it for a long time. When was the last you said, “God, I love you?” Another consideration is why we say we love Him. Is it because of all the things He gives and does for us, or is it just because of who He is?
I’m reminded of our earthly relationships, and I will focus on our spouse. Do we love them for the way they look, for what they do, for their talents and skills, for their finances, or for their personality? What if they became sick or they could no longer provide an income? What if they were diagnosed with a disease and started to look old and nothing like they did when you first met them? What if they were in pain and could not pay attention to you like in the past and life completely changed from the way it used to be? Would you still be committed to love and cherish them for who they are? This is our holy vow and the covenant way God unconditionally loves us and the same way we love Him.
It’s somewhat disturbing when a Christian feels uncomfortable worshiping God. Many will say, what do you mean? I go to church and sing songs, and when I’m in the car I’ll occasionally listen to a religious song. The point I’m making involves two different concepts of worship. The first one is understanding what the reverential fear of God is and being aware of His presence, which this level of spiritual connection actually has very little to do with music. The second and opposite concept is a non-threatening, non-sacrificial approach to knowing and loving God. Singing can be worship, but not all singing is worship. This view combines God and church as an hour of paying respect where both can be appeased at the same time. Sadly, for many, it is often superficial and meaningless as true repentance is avoided and exchanged for a temporary attempt to ease a guilty conscience.
If we were stranded on a desert island and had no church, communion, or music, it should not affect our prayers, meditation, worship, service, or abiding with God in the secret place of His presence. We should be just as comfortable with abiding under the shadow of the Almighty outside a church building as we are inside. Doing religious “things” does not always mean we worship or are in love with God.
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