Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
There’s usually that one teacher that stands out in our mind. Someone who believed in us when we didn’t believe in ourselves. Or maybe someone so passionate and knowledgeable about a particular subject that their excitement could not help but spark our interest too. A good teacher like that can change the entire trajectory of an at risk student. A loving, wise, engaging teacher can have a lasting, lifelong, life-changing impact.
Did you know that is what we as Christian brothers and sisters are supposed to do for one another? And specifically, that’s what our singing is supposed to do for one another. The songs we sing in our hearts and the songs we sing aloud to each other are like our teachers. They instruct us. They guide us. They can change our course when we are off-track. That’s where admonishing comes in.
To admonish means to warn and reprimand firmly, to advise and to urge sincerely. Let’s face it. We’re aren’t always where we are supposed to be in our walk with the Lord. Sometimes we become complacent and we drop our guard to the entrapments of this world and the entanglement of sin. Sometimes we lack discernment for certain blind spots and areas of lack in our faith. We need a teacher to come alongside us, to “explain to us a more perfect way” (Acts 18:28).
We often don’t think of ourselves in that way, as teachers. The common objection is, “Teaching is just for the professionals!” But that’s not what the word of God says. In fact, every believer is expected to mature and grow in the faith and to be able to teach and admonish his fellow believers. Hebrews 5:12 chides believers who have not matured in the faith “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.” (ESV, emphasis mine)
And while we do not often realize that we ought to be teachers for one another, we do not think of our singing as a means of teaching. We do not realize that the lyrics we rehearse over and over in our minds are instructing us in the principles of God, the tenets of our faith, the wisdom for righteous living. How careful we should be to be sure that we are maturing not only in our understanding of the Word, but also in our song selections, which should be a reflection of our understanding.
What songs are instructing you right now? Are they godly and filled with the wisdom of the Word? Or are they superficial? Are you careful to add to your faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love? Are those virtues reflected in your songs? Is your heart so seasoned in the Word of God and the songs of the faith that you could give a applicable verse of Scripture, or verse of a spiritual song, to a brother or sister who needed some exhortation, encouragement or instruction?
Scriptures for Further Reading
- Deuteronomy 6:69
- Matthew 28:20
- Hebrews 5:12
- 1 Peter 4:10
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Suggestions for Prayer
- Ask the Lord to show you how you may be a blessing to others, to teach, admonish and encourage in an area in which He has given you particular wisdom.
- Pray that the Lord will help you to surround yourself with “wise teachers” and uproot any “unwise teachers”.