by Eric Nanz
My name is Eric and I teach Praise and Worship classes through The Catoctin School of Music. I am excited to talk about the joy that comes with playing music for God. But to start with, let’s ask the big question…why should we play music to bring glory to God and not to ourselves? I mean after all, as musicians we’re pretty awesome and deserve a lot of praise, right? The world sure tells us so… but let’s begin by looking at the gospel –
”For all have sinned, and have fallen short of the Glory of God”
– Romans 3: 23
”The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 6: 22 – 23
Up front it is important to note that God is perfect and He made us beautiful and perfect in His image. He also gave us a free will so that we could enjoy life and make choices for ourselves. But at some point we’ve all chosen to do something that is against His will. That makes us imperfect (sinners) and something that it is imperfect cannot coexist with something that is perfect. Therefore once we’ve sinned, we can no longer associate ourselves with the perfect God of the universe.
We oftentimes try to make up for our imperfection (sin) by doing good deeds (the “enough goodness will outweigh my badness” mentality). Unfortunately no amount of benevolent behavior can pay the penalty for our sins which, Romans clearly states, is death. Now biblically speaking “death” is described as an eternity separated from God – an eternity separated from love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness – all of the things that God is. But here is the good news!
“For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16
The truth is that God our Creator loves us and sees that our sin separates us away from Him. So He sent His own Son Jesus (fully human and fully God) to earth to live the perfect life we couldn’t, and allowed him to be crucified on the cross to die the death we deserved. At that moment the penalty for our sin was paid in full. The gospel says because of this if we place our faith in Jesus, we will not perish but have eternal life with God. It is because of this great news that we praise and worship God!
It is also interesting to note that we are commanded to praise and worship. Psalm 150 says:
1 Praise the LORD.[a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise Him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise Him for his acts of power;
praise Him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise Him with the harp and lyre,
4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing,
praise Him with the strings and pipe,
5 Praise Him with the clash of cymbals,
praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
I love this passage because it shows us that praise and worship can be more than just singing hymns in church or listening to Christian Radio’s #1 most popular track for the week. God can be worshiped through dance, obscure instruments and any kind of expressive art.
So whether you play drums in your church band or you write poetry alone in your bedroom I would challenge you to do it for the glory of the Lord. I believe that we can only reach our full potential as artists and can only enjoy art to the fullest when we are doing it for the glory of the Lord. So as my boss always says, “Go be excellent for God!”
Eric teaches guitar at the Catoctin School of Music (as well as a little banjo!) and is very active in the area churches, especially in the praise bands.