Back in the early nineties, traditional churches started transitioning from the hymnal to what we termed praise choruses: “As the Deer,” “Shine, Jesus, Shine,” “Jesus, Lover of my Soul,” “Awesome God,” “Lord, I lift Your Name on High,” and more pop into my mind. We added these songs gradually, because many Southern Baptists struggled with change–let’s just face it. But each Sunday, my mom would practice these worship songs, integrating them into our morning praise time. These songs were prayers I used to reach up to who God is, finding comfort and peace in His character and strength. Although “I” found its way into the syntax, the songs were not about us, but about God.
Lately, I’ve found a trend toward “me, myself, and I” in “worship songs”. Our culture’s me-centered obsession has bled into the church, creating an atmosphere that sees God as a vendor machine for self-affirmation labels we stick on ourselves and sing about on Sunday mornings. E.g.:
Who You Say I Am
No Longer Slaves
You Make me Brave
These songs aren’t inherently wrong (sing them, enjoy them), but our time of worship to Almighty Creator of the Universe should be about Him. Many of these lyrics exalt our position in God, but have little to do with the attributes of God.
Or we decide we are just going to worship His love, ignoring the other attributes He declares about Himself, because His love is what we most gravitate toward. It’s comfortable and it seems to require the least from us. However, if we ignore the whole picture, we see a distorted image of who He really is.
“It is impossible for anyone to love God too much. But it is possible for us to love the love of God too much. We do this when we emphasize the love of God at the expense of his other attributes. Sin can cause us to love a version of God that is not accurate. This is the basic definition of idolatry, a disordered love. Ironically, one of the most common forms of idolatry takes is the disordered love of the love of God. The statement ‘My God is a God of love’ often has as its subtext the idea that his love precludes him ever acting in wrath or justice, or in any way that does not fit our human conceptions of love” ( In His Image, emphasis mine).
How He Loves Us
One Thing Remains
And don’t even get me started on Reckless Love (labeling God with flawed human qualities because it’s trendy or accessible).
We need to return back to opening our eyes wide to the awesome majesty of who we are singing to (and Who God says He is and what we are to revere); less of Crowder’s I Am and more of Philips, Craig, and Dean’s Great I Am. It’s not about us; it’s always been about Him and will continue to be. So don’t be afraid to be overwhelmed by the holiness, justice, goodness, faithfulness, patience, truthfulness, power, knowledge, wisdom, and omnipresence of our God. Seek out Who He says He is and find security and hope in that because you will always find more of what you are looking for in Him than in yourself. Let’s point our eyes away from navel gazing and up to Creator gazing.