Christian Worship: Christian Traits

‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ Ephesians 5:18-21

Christian living ought to look like biblical worship. When Christians participate in worship they are both anticipating the eschatological reality of the Christian future and participating in that Christian future. At the end of the Lord’s Service the Saints are commissioned and receive a benediction—in the name of the Triune God they are blessed and sent forth into the world as God-worshippers shaped by Godly-worship. The Saints will conduct dominion-work during the week, and the aroma and ethos of that work should be typified by Lord’s Day worship. That being the case, Christian living should be identified by the traits of Christian worship. What traits are in the Lord’s Service?

Ephesians 5:18-21 describes a trait—those filled with the Spirit will sing. Singing is a trait of those who love God (Not obnoxious singing, or inappropriate singing, like singing at the top of your lungs in Wal-Mart).

God speaks to us through his Spirit and we respond. This is what we do in the Lord’s Service (The Word is spoken to us and we respond in song.). If our worship does look like this, then so will our life.

But isn’t it interesting that the author contrasts drunkards with believers? This is not an ultimate dualism; actually there are several similar points. The drunkard singing in a bar is a convention that resonates in antiquity. Christians will share traits with a drunkard, constantly singing and talking about the things that are going on, however, rather than singing about your sinfulness or greed or lasciviousness and your dread of pain and agony, instead you will sing about God’s faithfulness to you, your family, and His providential care for you and Christ’s Bride, the Church, in all things, which includes the pains, temptations, and the vale of tears that oftentimes comprises this world.

Christians should be singing. Therefore, Christian worship and living, to add to James K. A. Smith’s observation, may look more like the singing and participatory movements in Moulin Rouge or the local pub than the talking-heads on the 700 Club, or their silent, stoic viewers sitting at home in their Lazy-Boys.

Yes, Christian living ought to look like biblical worship. However, this does not mean that biblical worship is charismatic/Pentecostal “anything goes”–“slain/laughing/nobody-knows-what-is-happening in the Spirit” showbiz. Biblical worship will be filled with the Spirit and will be identified by Fruit –specifically – sober mindedness and self control…oh yeah, and singing.