Are you one of those people who really enjoys watching people blow it on American Idol? One of the biggest draws for some wasn’t the talent drawn to the competition, but the eventual disasters to eventually audition before the judges. The producers must have known this was true, making sure to include several vocal meltdowns from each audition city.
Music is a huge part of my own life. I’m not star quality, but I know when I’m “pitchy” or “scooping”. A worship leader friend of mine told me in high school that I had an ear for music. I didn’t really understand what she meant at the time. Over the years, though, I’ve realized how much my “ear for music” can get me into trouble.
There is one question I always ask my worship team before we get started for practices. If I don’t ask it early, it comes out as soon as my ear tells me something is off. I can hear with something goes out of tune before most people around me. It’s a curse I have, really, and my poor team members get to enjoy it. But my ear for an instrument’s tuning points to a valuable lesson about how we live for Jesus.
My latest music project is learning electric guitar. One of the challenges of learning lead guitar is knowing which effects pedals to collect and how much you want to spend on them. I knew the first pedal I was going to need was a tuner.
Our lives would be so different if they came with a tuner. Most of the time I use it before I practice or before a service. If I leave it on, though, it shows me what note I am playing and if the string is beginning to move out of tune. With my handy volume pedal, I can tune on the fly and make sure I’m not the one throwing everything out of musical harmony.
What if we could keep our lives in tune with Jesus? Wait a minute; we can. Actually, we have to. Paul encouraged the Galatians to “walk by the Spirit” and to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 25). Keeping in step with the Spirit is walking alongside with and following the moving the Holy Spirit, or like staying in tune with God’s lead instrument.
[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Keeping in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:23) is like staying in tune with God’s lead instrument.[/tweetthis]
When we fall out of step with the Spirit we are off track, off pace, and off key. Paul warned falling out of sync with the Spirit was the cause of our falling into the traps of the flesh. To walk any way but God’s way is to walk into harm’s way.
Sometimes it is really easy to tell we are out of tune with the Spirit. Thoughts go through our head or stuff comes out of our mouths that make us ask, “Where did that come from?” They are usually the byproduct of too much influence from the world around us. The real danger comes when we don’t realize we are out of tune, and we keep right on walking.
[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]To walk any way but #God’s way is to walk into harm’s way. [/tweetthis]
Here are 3 quick thoughts about keeping our lives in tune with God.
- Take the time to tune first. If we aren’t tuning first it is usually because we are in too big a hurry, or just plain lazy. It only takes a few seconds with the guitar. You might just want to jam for a few minutes to keep from getting rusty or to clear your head. But every time you play without tuning, you are actually training your ear that “out of tune” is the standard.
- When someone says we’re out of tune, stop and evaluate. Our first inclination is usually to get defensive. What we forget is that there is always someone with a better ear than our own. We may not hear what they hear. Think of how many American Idol disasters began with a background story of how great their friends and family think they sound. When the take the stage and open their mouths, they open their voices to higher scale of criticism. Some choose to take the advice and improve while others get angry and storm away. If someone says we are out of tune we should take a break and double-check.
- Practice in tune often. The more you hear what “in tune” sounds like, the more foreign “out of tune” will sound. If we only check our tuning when we think we need to, it could be pretty far out there. The more we know we are in tune, and practice it over and over again, the more a slight jump off key will grate on us. And that’s a good thing.
Of course, being in tune with the Holy Spirit means being in tune with God’s Word. The Holy Spirit doesn’t direct us contrary to the purpose and plan of God already revealed in Scripture. This is your tuner. The more time you spend in the Word of God the more you will be able to tell if you are in tune with the Spirit.
[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]The more time you spend in the #Bible the better you’ll know if you’re in tune with the Spirit.[/tweetthis]
Did I mention how people get annoyed when I tell them they are out of tune? They do. Most of them don’t believe me. Until they check. It happened at a backyard barbecue this summer. I had never met the guy, and he was amazing on the guitar.
When our host brought out her guitar, I played across the strings and said it was out of tune. Everything thought I was nuts. Then this other guitar player took out his tuner and checked. He had the strangest look on his face when he told me I was right, like it wasn’t possible that anyone could hear such a small difference.
Take the time and get in tune with God. You might think the slightest difference doesn’t matter, but with God even a little bit off the mark is still off the mark. He doesn’t want you to miss a thing He has for you. Check your tune often, and be amazed at how good it sounds to be in step with the Spirit.