I’m so thankful for the programs that recently ran on “Revive Our Hearts” (see Friday’s post) because they reminded me of an important spiritual discipline that I’ve been neglecting. Like a soldier who takes a lunch break and leaves his weapon in the barracks.
Leaving your weapon behind is always dangerous when you’re in battle!
For years, I’ve kept a hymnal in my stack of devotional books right next to my chair where I spend the first hours of my day—but I haven’t pulled this weapon out for a long time now. I’ve been missing out on an essential element in the battle. I haven’t been singing to the Lord in my personal time with Him.
Recently I’ve been bombarded with an intense spiritual attack, but God was faithful to remind me that I haven’t been singing to Him.
I found my old hymnal still nestled in my stack of books where it’s been quietly waiting to be used. I pulled it out and started looking for an old familiar hymn that was on my heart. I’m definitely not a soloist, and my voice is raspy early in the mornings, but as I started to feebly sing the words to Him, He met me in tender moments of worship.
This is what I sang:
[box]O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!
What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.1[/box]
By the time I reached the second verse, I was shaken by the image described. “Mine, mine was the transgression . . .” My sin, mine, brought His deadly pain. I fell to my knees as the picture of His passion hit me full force. It brought a fresh reminder of the cross. My sins—His love, my freedom—His pain, my guilt—His gracious lovingkindness poured out in full—all of it came into close view as I worked my way through the lyrics of this ancient hymn.
Before the second verse ended, the dark oppression lifted. Why did it take me so long to reach for this weapon? How did I forget that the enemy cannot remain long in the presence of the sincere worship of Christ? He cannot bear it.
As Amy Carmichael once said, “I believe truly that Satan cannot endure it and so slips out of the room—more or less—when there is a true song.” While kneeling in my living room in worship, with a raspy voice lifting my song to Jesus, the enemy’s oppressive cloud evaporated.
Almost twenty years ago now, God used a story in 2 Chronicles 20 to open my eyes to this important element of spiritual warfare. I hope you’ll check out this chapter and consider the role singing plays in this battle. Tomorrow, we’ll walk through this passage together.
Do you use this spiritual weapon?
What song will you offer to Jesus today?
1Bernard of Clairvaux (1153)
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