I believe that worship encompasses many more things than music. Any activity that is done in obedience to or reverence for God is worship. However, music is an important and meaningful form of worship, and God uses it to speak to people in powerful ways. As a guitarist and a worship leader, music speaks to me particularly powerfully. I love to sing songs of praise to God, and I love it when the church gathers to worship God together in song. There’s something liberating about a community of believers lifting their voices together to honor God. That’s why music is one of my favorite ways to worship.
I started playing guitar when I was eleven years old. When I first picked up a guitar, I didn’t have God in mind at all. I took it up because I thought guitar players looked really cool. Just holding a guitar and a pick made me feel awesome, even though I could hardly put a chord together at that point. Once I started taking lessons, I became enthralled with guitar playing itself. I practiced tirelessly, wrote songs, and played in bands. But it wasn’t for a few more years that I dedicated my music to God.
One day in youth group my pastor approached me, asking about my guitar playing. After talking about music for a while, he asked me to try out for the youth group’s worship band. I tried out, made it, and began to help lead worship with the band. I had never felt so fulfilled when playing guitar. When I played guitar for worship I stopped playing for myself and started playing for God. This made music much more meaningful for me, both privately and corporately. It became less and less about looking cool, and more and more about giving God glory.
One of my favorite songs to play lately is “Overcome” by Jeremy Camp. I first heard it during chapel as a freshman at Nyack College, and I fell in love with it right away. Musically, it’s a fantastic song, but the main reason I enjoy it so much is the quality of the lyrics. The song’s bridge is my favorite part. It says, “We will overcome, by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Everyone, overcome!” Every time I hear, play, or sing this song, it reminds me that through Jesus I can overcome any and every obstacle that stands in my way.
Although there are countless ways to worship, music continues to be one of my favorites. It takes my mind off of my circumstances, my struggles, and myself. For music to truly be worship, God must be the center of it. True worship isn’t about receiving, it’s about giving God reverence. But somehow, even when we are focused making joyful noises to him, he graces us with blessings that we do not deserve.