Fulfilling the Will of God Through Song
Imagine yourself in the time of the early Church. There is no electricity, no cars, no internet, and no smart phones. The hustle and bustle of the 21st Century dissipates behind you as you enter into the candle lit services of the first Century Church. Instead of meeting in grand church steeples, you are meeting in the middle of the night because the Gospel is illegal.
Today the man speaking at your church service is Paul the Apostle. His face, arms, and back are mangled by the whippings and stoning of previous persecutions, but his radiant smile tells us of the exceeding joy that surpasses his momentary light affliction. The rooms goes quiet as Paul utters these word from his mouth, “Understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). Paul is about to declare the most important thing in a believer's life, the will of God. His statement is simple, only six words long, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). In the Greek, the word “filled" means to always be increasing, which means that God wants to constantly fill us with His Spirit.
Paul then goes on to tell us the most practical way that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Speaking to one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Eph 5:19). The key to being filled with the Holy Spirit is through song, three different types of song to be exact.
Psalms: Paul exhorts us to sing the psalms that were written in the Bible. We can read and sing the words verbatim and through that, the Holy Spirit fills us.
Hymns: These are the songs that were popular in Jewish culture or in the early Christian Church. Today they are like the songs written by Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin that everyone knows in our generation.
Spiritual songs: These are spontaneous moments where you sing to the Lord a new song, whether that be singing in the Spirit or singing with your understanding (1 Cor. 14:15).
Paul perfectly outlines some of practical tools to walk in the will of God, not just for the early Church, but for the saints throughout history and for us today — songs.