If you’re a regular reader you know how adamant I am about the importance of practicing, rehearsing and perfecting your music ministry until it’s the best it can be. In my blog Talent Vs. Skill Vs. Anointing; does God really care? I made a pretty compelling case using several scriptures that yes, God cares very much what music ministry sounds like. But after doing the work, studying and improving their craft, practicing endless hours to achieve a high level of skill in ministry, many anointed singers and musicians find themselves struggling with the outpouring of praise and adoration from well-meaning people.
Indeed, once a certain level of proficiency in music ministry is attained, it is entirely possible for not only for the musician/singer, but the ones giving the praises to become a little confused about who is being praised. People mean well when they shower complements upon musicians, of course. Many of them even use all the right words when they’re giving you kudos. Words like anointed are often used by people who are complementing someone’s singing or playing. But whether they realize it or not, most people have a tendency to praise the person more than they are praising the God that is working through the person.
Even the best of us can get caught up in all the praise when it’s always coming at you. We are, after all, human. But the good news is God always gives us a way of escape when we go to His word. In scripture you can find several instances where the bible teaches and gives examples of the importance of deflecting such praises away from ourselves toward God, the source of all good things.
The book of Daniel chapter 2 told the story about Nebuchadnezzar, who had been troubled with dreams he could not interpret. After hearing news that Daniel had the gift to interpret dreams, the king sent for him. When the king asked Daniel in vs.26 if he could indeed interpret his dream for him, Daniel could have easily just said “Yes, I can interpret your dream”. But look at his answer in vs.26-28:
27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
Verse 28 is so powerful to me. Daniel basically said “no, I can’t but God can through me”. It’s an amazing example of how scripture teaches us of the importance of deflecting praise away from ourselves and back to God. Jesus Himself during his time on earth constantly deflected praise away from Himself and back to God ( Luke 18:19 is just one example). Paul can also be found deflecting praise away from himself, as well as John the Baptist.
Still though, we need not be rude or condescending when people are saying good things about us. If someone complements your playing, directing, singing or any other aspect of your ministry, to respond with kindness and humility is just the Christian thing to do. But it is also very important to take one more step beyond “thank you” and deflect that praise to God. I have a friend who is an amazing vocalist, and just a beautiful person. But complement her all you want and you’ll never get her to accept any of the credit. “Thank you, it’s nothing but God.” or “to God be the Glory”, or “it’s not me at all, it’s all God” are all things she says whenever someone praises her singing.
That’s really what the bible is teaching us. One thing that makes music ministry such an attractive target for the devil is it’s propensity for vanity. It’s very easy to get puffed up and start “believing the hype”, as it were. After all, you did the work! You fasted, prayed, worked, toiled, and rehearsed. You deserve some praise, right? Sorry, but no. And if you think so, that should be your first clue that you’ve done it all for the wrong reasons. The bible warns very strongly against doing anything- whether it be praying, fasting, giving or anything else- strictly for the praises of, or to be seen by men (Matt 6;1, 6;5, 6;16).
So while it is important to perfect your ministry, the ONLY reason to do it is so that God gets the glory from it. So when people start lavishing the complements and praises on you, make sure that you deflect those praises away from yourself. Make it a point to always tell people that it’s not you, but God working through you. Failing to give God the credit and the glory for His mighty gifts can often come with terrible consequences, as Herod found out in Acts 12:22 .
So the word of the day concerning the praises of men on your music ministry is..DEFLECT!