I had someone ask me yesterday how God was speaking to me this Christmas. I thought about how I had been touched by the humility of Christ as I wrote about last week. But another thought gripped me as well. Because of my connection with music, I often have a song in my head that is very meaningful at every particular point in my life. During this Christmas season, that song has been “A King Like This” by Chris Tomlin (the video for this song is at the bottom of this post – check it out.) This song didn’t really mean much to me when I first heard it, but it was a part of my church choir’s program this year which meant we sang it quite a bit. At some point, the chorus struck a nerve in my brain: “He is Christ the Lord; He is Christ the Savior. I bow my heart before no other name. I bow my heart before no other King.”
This line got me thinking: to whom or what am I bowing my heart to besides Jesus?
Three things come to mind as I consider this question. If I’m not careful, I bow my heart before:
1. The opinions of other people: As a performer, and especially as a worship leader, it is so easy to get caught up in the congregation’s response to what I’m doing. Do they enjoy my singing and playing? Are they bored? Do they care at all? Do they like these songs or are they wishing I had picked something else? Do they wish someone else was up here? You can quickly drive yourself crazy with all of the doubts and questions if you focus on their opinions, or even worse, your made-up perceptions of what their opinions are. And this is certainly true in areas of life outside of worship leading. Ultimately, you have to choose to not bow down before the throne of public opinion or how you are viewed by others and bow instead before King Jesus. Jesus loves you and if He is your King, He calls you His child. Don’t worry about pleasing others – worry only about pleasing Him.
2. My plans: This one is big for me but maybe not for others. God has been working on me in this area for at least several months now. I am a huge planner and I find myself believing that if I have a good strong plan, I will never fail or be embarrassed or be unsuccessful. I put my faith in my plans and my planning ability, which isn’t all bad until I realize that my faith needs to be in God instead. Unfortunately for me, the way God teaches me this lesson is by upsetting all of my well-made plans. (The stories I could tell about this!) Am I bowing down to my plans or am I bowing down to let Christ handle what’s ahead?
3. My busy-ness: Another big one for me. I am a task-driven guy, always working on the next thing to check off of the to-do list. This often leads me to take pride in how hard I am working for the kingdom and look down on those who I see as working less. I read a fantastic old article a month or so ago called the Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles E. Hummel that really changed my perspective on some of this. There are a ton of great quotes in this short article, but Hummel says that “the root of all sin is self-sufficiency – independence from the rule of God. When we fail to wait prayerfully for God’s guidance and strength, we are saying with our actions, if not with our words, that we do not need Him. How much or our service is actually a ‘going it alone?'” Am I bowing to Christ to go where He leads, or am I simply running off on my own missions?
My prayer heading into 2017 is that I would “bow my heart before no other King” than King Jesus.