Songs and Brokenness

Songs can have a powerful influence on our lives.  The combination of message and melody is much more than message and melody separately.  I have been aware of this influence for many years, having been cautioned by God to make sure that the message conforms to the spirit and text of Scripture in order to avoid adverse influences.

I recently attended a home fellowship group via computer audio/video networking.  We have been meeting for a little over two years with the same core of friends, with others coming and going from time to time.

I was pleased that a young couple with vocal gifts who have recently become regular attenders of this group led us in singing the song "Lord Prepare Me To Be A Sanctuary".  This song has been in my heart for many months now, and always results in a wave of the Spirit when I sing it.

But I have had to adjust the words slightly to conform to Scripture as follows:

The original chorus to the song is this:  "Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.  With thanksgiving I'll be a living sanctuary for You.

But I have been singing a slightly different chorus.  See if you can discern the difference.

"Lord prepare us to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.  With thanksgiving, we'll be a living sanctuary for You."

I suspect that this song is based on the common translation of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, which says:  MKJV 1 Cor 6:19-20  "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own, for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."

But I know that the Greek New Testament is the REAL New Testament.  Our translations are what someone thinks the real Bible says or means.  A lot is added or lost in the translation.  My literal translation of  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is as follows:

"Or do youall not know that the body of youall is a temple of the in youall Holy Spirit, Whom youall have from God, and youall are not your own?  For youall were bought with a price.  Therefore glorify God in  the body of youall and in the spirit of youall, which is of God."

My point is this:   The Greek text makes clear distinction between you (singular) and you (plural).  But our common English does not make that distinction. As a result we all seem to think that we are each a temple of the Spirit rather than together we are a temple of the Spirit.  So we try to serve God independently of each other rather than together as the Spirit leads.  The reality should be that there is one body made of many parts properly aligned with Jesus as Head and with each other, together loving and serving God.

So, in order for this song-prayer to be properly aligned with God's plan and purpose for creation, I believe that is is better to sing/pray that we be a sanctuary rather than I be a sanctuary.

Unfortunately the carnal Christian is happy to be independent of others because we still love ourselves more than we love God.  The spiritual Christian, on the other hand, loves God more than himself or herself and lives more for God and for others than for self. 

I believe that this spiritual life can only be attained by being a disciple of Jesus, which has four requirements including 1. denying self daily and taking up the cross daily, 2. forsaking  all, 3. receiving from God the holy hatred of self and family, and 4. receiving all the truth that we need to be set free to be His disciples indeed.  See Luke 14 and John 8.  The result of complying with His requirements for being His disciples is taking His yoke upon us and learning from Him meekness and lowliness of heart.  Otherwise we just remain disciples of ourselves or our pastors or our denominations.  The result of that is the fractured and divided body of Christ which is so evident today.

Unfortunately every believer in Jesus seems to think that they are spiritual either because of "correct doctrines" or because of "spiritual gifts", but Paul called even the charismatic Corinthians 'carnal' although they were experiencing spiritual gifts!

We are being called to go way beyond what we think is spiritual Christianity now, and being disciples of Jesus is the only way to attain His goal for us, which is Christ likeness and the growing knowledge of Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  It does not yet appear what we will be because no one, including Paul and John, have gone all the way with Jesus.

So, unless we set our sights on Jesus and let Him take us all the way to Father, we will continue in our unfruitful lukewarm Old Testament version of christianity.

It is not just getting to know each other in fellowship or being united in church participation that will unite the disjointed members of the Body of Christ, it is only the Unity of the Spirit which will result in a fully functional body for Jesus to use to reach the world!

Last evening (4/20/2020) I realized that there are two levels of brokenness.  There is circumstantial desperation, and then there is brokenness and contrition.  King David wrote about circumstantial desperation in Psalm 61:2: "When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."  And later, in his latter years of life after the Bathsheba sin he wrote in Psalm 51: "For You do not desire sacrifice; or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. "

These two levels of brokenness correspond with the two levels of brokenness which Jesus described in Luke 20:18: "Whoever shall fall on that Stone shall be broken, but on whomever It shall fall, It will grind him to powder."

Lord Jesus, fall on all of us now, and grind us to powder!  Then use the powder to make clay, and mold us an remake us in Your image to sing optimal songs to You and to do Father's will!!!!!

Rob