I see it every Sunday morning, and have for a long time. The sanctuary is filled with eager worshipers. Instruments cover the stage. The well-rehearsed choir smiles with anticipation. The music leader claps his hands and invites the congregation to stand and sing praises to our King together.
The energy in the room increases. The pre-service chatter has died down, and hearts and minds are turned to the worship of God through song.
The choir and other music leaders confidently burst forth with shouts of praise. The band and orchestra exhibit the beautiful gift of music accompanied by words of worship. The people of God sing the praises of God.
But a quick glance around the room reveals more to the story. Many of the voices being heard are female voices. The women in the room, uninhibited by self-consciousness or fear, sing from the depths of their soul. Some are expressive with their bodies, hands, and facial expressions. Unconcerned with who might be watching or listening, they sing with all their might.
Meanwhile, many men in the room are paralyzed by uncertainty, fear, or apathy. With their hands in their pockets, they endure the agony and discomfort of congregational singing until they are able to sit back down and listen to the sermon.
Whether it is a lack of desire to sing, a fear of being confused for a non-manly man, an uncertainty about whether or not anyone else can hear their off-pitch voice, or some other unknown factor, many men merely passively participate in corporate worship with a hum or a foot tap. Others refuse to participate at all.
In many ways, it is almost as if they have forgotten how to sing like men.
But the Bible is clear that real men sing. Because real men who have been transformed by the power of the glorious gospel – whose dead souls have been brought to life, who have been given a new heart of flesh set on pleasing the Father, who are no longer enslaved to sin – those men cannot help but sing to the King.
God saved us in order that we proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). True worshipers (John 4:23) cannot help but to express their worship through song. Because it is good to sing praises to our God (Psalm 147:1). And when our mouths open, our lives must pour out the praises of God (Psalm 51:15).
God has also ordained corporate worship as a means of encouragement to one another, so that we might address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). When others around us worship unencumbered by fear or concerns of self-image, we are reminded of the greatness of our God in spite of whatever circumstances we might be facing.
Real men are not concerned with the appearance of their emotional expression to God or how their voices might be slightly out of tune. Because sinful pride is swallowed up by a heart for a worship. A heart that cries out, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” (Psalm 63:3)
We sing to offer adoration, praise, and gratitude to God for who he is in in perfections. And we sing to offer adoration, praise, and gratitude for who God has done in his works of creation and redemption. We praise him for the gospel. Singing helps call to mind the goodness of God’s past acts of mercy, to rejoice in his present goodness, and to look forward to the faithful fulfillment of his promises in the future.
Godly, transformed men cannot help but sing.
So may we sing like men. Like men who love and worship the sovereign God who saves.