Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:19-20
When I think of gracious people, it seems like they’re often walking around with a song in their hearts. Whether any songs actually come out of their mouths or not, it seems like their words are practically musical, as if they’re flowing out from songs being sung deep within them.
The Apostle Paul encouraged the Ephesians speak to each other with songs, too. He wrote:
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20).
There’s something about singing that brings joy to the surface. And there’s something about having a song in your heart that spreads joy to those around you.
I have a nine-year-old son who can sing about anything. He’ll sing about brushing his teeth, or a bumblebee he just saw, or a trip he’s about to take. Whatever the topic, he’s glad to sing about it. Sometimes he doesn’t even have words for his songs―he’ll just start humming a tune as he’s walking around or riding in a car, letting the music flow from within him.
What has struck me about his singing is that whenever he sings, he’s happy. It’s not like he’s always happy before he starts singing. But once he starts, his whole outlook and disposition changes. The songs themselves seem to bring joy into his heart and life.
I decided to try it myself this week when I was riding with some of my kids in the car. Every once in awhile, I’d need to remind them to talk nicer to each other, or to act more sweetly. So I began singing my reminders to my kids rather than speaking. Even though I didn’t have much of a tune to what I was singing, the words came out much more pleasant and brought more smiles. It’s hard to be angry when you’re singing! It was a good lesson for me.
And it was a good reminder of the power of these verses from Ephesians. If you can try to keep a song in your heart, giving thanks to the Lord for all things, you’ll be more gracious, more cheerful, more helpful, and get a better response from those around you. It doesn’t mean that you have to sing about everything that comes into your mind, or else the person at the drive-up window might start to wonder about you. But it might just bring a bigger smile to your face and the faces of those around you to think about singing whatever you’re going to say, even if you don’t actually sing it.
My family and I were in a nursing home this week visiting a close friend who’s is in the final days of her life. Although she wasn’t able to respond much, she seemed to perk up when we sang a song or two for her. We didn’t sing any big or fancy songs, just some songs that we all happened to know and that we sometimes sing as prayers before we eat. Maybe you’ve heard of the “Johnny Appleseed” song or the “Superman” prayer. They’re simple, but thankful songs.
Even though they were just simple songs, they seemed to lift the spirits of everyone in the room, even in the face of impending death. Songs have a way of helping us refocus our thoughts and reframing our situations, especially songs of thanks and praise to God.
If you need a lift in your spirit today, or want to give a lift to the spirits of those around you, try singing a song. Make some music in your heart and let it flow out of your mouth. Even if you don’t feel much like singing, you may find that singing is exactly “the cure for what ails ya’.”
If you need some ideas where to start, take a look at the book of Psalms, which means “songs.” Try speaking or singing the words to one of the Psalms out loud. Then consider sharing those words with those around you, and see what a blessing it can be.
Prayer: Father, thank You for encouraging me to sing and make music in my heart to You. Help me to sing to You in a way that blesses You, blesses those around me, and blesses my own heart as well. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit again today, the Spirit that bring music to my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.