In the Christian music arena, the phrase “before an audience of One” is used liberally by almost every church worship leader, Nashville recording artist, and youth group musician. I absolutely love the concept – we don’t play to impress 300 in church on Sunday morning or 50,000 people in a stadium. We play to impress the Lord Himself, because, even though it may seem weak, we truly believe that He is pleased as we play and sing before Him.
But do we really believe that? Can we honestly say, without hesitation, that if absolutely nobody showed up to the show or worship service, that we would still play and sing the same way as if the stadium had 50,000 screaming worshippers in it or the church building was packed and overflowing to the street?
I want to provoke our hearts to really think about this for a little bit. When we say that we sincerely play and sing for an audience of One, can we remember the last time we went into our secret place with our instrument or voice and played and sang to the Lord with the same passion and zeal as we do before the stadium crowd or before our churches on Sunday morning?
I’d like to challenge you with this idea for your meditation and consideration: The very first and primary reason we were given the gift of music, singing, or songwriting was to use it to enhance our intimacy and relationship with the Lord in the secret place. Worship leading, producing CDs, and “playing for God” is absolutely phenomenal, but it’s not the primary reason the Lord gifted us with musical ability. He is jealous for people to encounter Him, but He can so easily anoint someone else besides you or me to do that. At the end of the day, He is jealous for our heart to encounter Him in a deeper way and for us to grow in intimacy with Him.
King David is probably one of the best examples we have of a man truly walking this out. Sitting on the back hills of Bethlehem at night watching over the sheep, he played and sang his heart cry to God with a beat up hand-me-down guitar, passionately playing and singing before an audience of One. It was from this place that the Lord promoted him to be king, calling him a “man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). We have many of his personal songs written down for us in the book of Psalms, but my guess is that David had many many more songs he sang that were personal and private between Him and the Lord. He truly played and sang for an audience of One.
Do you have melodies songs that only stay between you and the Lord?
Paul also makes it clear that the pathway to being filled with the Spirit is by “singing and making melody” in our hearts. (Ephesians 5:19). Our heart is something that the Lord is only privy to. And Jesus emphasized that when we pray, we should go into our room, shut our door, and pray to God in the secret place where nobody else is looking. (Matthew 6:6) There is so much power in encountering God in the secret place with our melodies!
Your music and song that is done before the Lord when there are other people present should be the overflow of your music and song that is done when the Lord is the only one present. Singing and playing before the Lord alone in the secret place should be the predominant activity of any musician desiring to play and sing before an audience of One. This is the very definition of what we’re talking about! How much do we give our love to Him through our music and song in the secret place?
Is He not deserving of all of our attention so much more than anyone else is?
The Lord has gifted us with musical ability for something far greater than ministering to others from a platform. The heart posture we want to take when we’re up there is to play before Him alone. But first and foremost, we’ve been given such a special personal tool to grow in our intimacy with Him. Let’s really begin to play and sing before an audience of One!