FIRST-PERSON: Sing with your spouse

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) -- Not long ago, a friend of mine got married. Before the wedding day, we planned a get-together and we were asked to think of exhortations or encouragements to give him as he headed into marriage. What to say dawned on me one evening when my wife and I were singing Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" -- that's it. My exhortation was to sing hymns with your wife.

To spite the devil

Other than the pure Word of God and the preaching of the Word, the most powerful weapon to slay the devil and his temptations is singing theologically sound and Gospel-rich hymns from your gut. The wonder of music is that it draws out our emotions as human beings. This, like most things, can be used for good or for evil. As Christians we must wield this weapon for good. The benefit of theologically sound and Gospel-rich hymns is that they channel our God-given emotions in the right direction. Music has a unique way of stirring up our affections for Christ.

When a Christian couple commits to singing hymns together on a regular basis it "spites the devil," as Martin Luther would say. Stones of temptation or discord that Satan has thrown your way can be thrown back in his face at the sound of melody to the Lord. "Come Thou Fount" is a gut punch; "Before the Throne" is an uppercut to the jaw; and "Jesus Paid It All" is a knockout blow. A joyful sound to the Lord can be a cure for the wiles of Satan. He hates the sound of songs, hymns and spiritual songs. What is a joyful sound to the Lord is a screeching annoyance to the devil.

To forge your bond

Few things in this world are more bonding than to slay sin and exalt Christ through song. Singing truths about God with one another weaves the strings of your hearts together in a bond that is not easily broken. Most people are very self-conscious about their singing voices. Our singing voices make most of us feel vulnerable in some sense. Singing truths about your Lord Jesus Christ puts you in a vulnerable position. But when we are put in a vulnerable position and are still loved and accepted, we are bonded together with that other soul in a unique way. When the notes from your heart come out of your vocal chords and are strung together with those of your spouse, a bond is forged that cannot be undone.

Piggybacking off of this, the sound that you and your spouse make while singing together is a sound that cannot be replicated by anyone else. If you add someone, it is a different sound. If one of you is absent, it is not the same. It is a unique sound to the Lord that only the two of you have the physical ability to share. It is a unique sound that only the Lord can enjoy when you two are singing together.

So love Christ by singing hymns together that spite the devil and forge your souls together with serious joy.

Joshua Jenkins is undergoing pastoral ministry training at Hope Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo. This column first appeared at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's For the Church website.
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