Abiding: Singing to Jesus

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I, Jackie, am a lazy cheater.

I, Jackie, am a lazy cheater.

I handle words and teach missions for The Human Right. I also serve as a missionary with Live Dead Arab World. Which doesn’t sound lazy or cheating at all; but stick with me.

Each month Live Dead team members and our advocates participate in a different fast, giving up something good for something greater in Jesus. The March fast is produced music. No music for the whole month. But if one does the fast “correctly,” there should not be much silence. This fast is about using our own words to express praise to Jesus. Rather than turning to someone else’s words of praise to Jesus (through worship music and the like), we are encouraged to sing our own song to Jesus.

So I turned off my music for the month, and that’s when I discovered I am, in fact, a lazy cheater.

At first, I sang songs that I could actually remember the words to (i.e., a lot of hymns). But that felt like cheating. I was supposed to be expressing my own words.

So I turned inward to find my own words of praise to Jesus. That wasn’t so hard. I’m a writer. I string words together all the time—for a living. God made a career of it for me. But I found I just thought about the words or wrote them down—I was too lazy (and/or self-conscious) to vocalize them.

Not good enough. So I took those words from my thoughts and my notes to sing them. It didn’t matter that no human being was in the same room listening to me—it was awkward at first. So awkward. But after a few times, it wasn’t so much. It was sweet. I found as soon as I sang the name of Jesus out loud, I recognized His presence in the room immediately. It was like being in a room full of people and calling out someone’s name and seeing a head pop up above the crowd in response to his name.

“Oh, there you are, Jesus. Hello!”

“Hello,” He responds. Always.

I usually start or end my abiding time by opening Spotify on one of my electrical devices and selecting one of several worship playlists I’ve created to match a mood or certain topic. By the end of the fast, I discovered how meaningful it was to put my own “random” songs together and sing them out loud to Jesus.

I found a quote in Live Dead Joy (April 28 entry), and it’s a good reminder for this practice: “Let verbal praise be the punctuation of a life that continually magnifies the Lord—out loud!” When I express my praise out loud continually throughout the day, not only does it do my soul good, but others around me also hear the praise of Jesus.

YOUR TURN:

Take two minutes during your abiding time to verbally express praise to Jesus. No music allowed. No lyrics to your favorite worship song allowed. Use your own words to express your thoughts toward Jesus. If you have a hard time finding words, just start by saying His name over and over.

At first this exercise might feel painfully awkward. But don’t worry about what others around you might think. Think about how Jesus will respond when He hears you call His name out loud.