What about Christian musicians practicing to improve their skill?
Please follow the BLOG Etiquette to stay on topic and pass the moderator’s check. Bold, underlined text below = future links to the BLOG pages.
After everything we have warned about the dangers of skill and professionalism and the might and power of the flesh, and all the incredibly positive aspects of playing anointed, prophetic, and spontaneous music in/by/with the Spirit, how does the idea of practicing music or for that matter practicing your preaching/evangelizing, teaching, prophesying, or any of the grace-gifts fit into this?
If we put our trusting-relying-faith solely in/by/with the Spirit instead of our might and power skill, does that mean we show up to performances totally unprepared and just “wing it?” Does that mean we just start preaching/evangelizing, teaching, prophesying, or performing any of the Spirit’s grace-gifts “in the heat of the moment” in public when we have never done so before? Do we jump off the temple and see if the angels will catch us before we hit the pavement? Are we greater than Jesus with His great trusting-relying-faith who was tempted to do this but said to Satan, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (a). Remember that Jesus didn’t say or do anything unless He saw the Father first say or do it (b). So if the Lord shows or tells you to do something and you are confident it is Him and not a deceiving spirit (1 Timothy 4:1), then that is absolutely the time to “step out in faith” and do it, even if it’s your first time! <Notes> a) Matthew 4:7, b) John 5:19.
What I see throughout the NT is the idea of a loving Father training little children to learn how to walk in/by/with the Spirit. We will explore this in a minute, but God has also showed me through many dreams and visions His great pleasure in seeing us going on an adventure to explore creativity, like a kid going on long bike rides in the country, or a kid on the beach making a magnificent sand castle only to wipe it out with a crashing wave or his own arm, and then start making another one! He loves to see us “in the zone” lost in the joy of our adventures! I’ve seen Him smile from ear to ear with the pride of father saying, “That’s my kid making those things!” I’ve seen the Holy Spirit, like a squiggle of colored light floating like a butterfly into my childhood carport and then dance from drum to drum to cymbal to tom-tom right before my hand suddenly moved to play on it, but I was unware, simply “in the zone” staring at my drums as my hands danced about. I’ve physically felt blown or swept away by music that was played in/by/with the Spirit in a few rare church experiences. It was completely free-form with little or no predetermined music structure, program, or other agenda. It was anointed, prophetic, and spontaneous – what a Spirit-power combination! I also know that God loves it when we are full of gratitude and give Him thanks for the privilege to learn and practice music. Remember 1 Timothy 4:5 says that the logos gospel message of confident childlike trusting-relying-faith and childlike, confident prayerful approach to God is what makes all things created by God holy or consecrated to Him.
So I would say that God absolutely loves it when you practice your instrument in/by/with the Spirit! He absolutely loves it that you are willing to surrender control of your worries, concerns, and ambitions to acquire more “might and power, fleshly” skill and learn how to “let go and let God” to explore how to be “led by the Spirit as like-Father-sons (a) of God” (Romans 8:14) so that we are no longer under the bondage of following the commandments of the Torah Law of conditional-favor (b). This is how Jesus lived (c)! This is how we live or ‘walk all about’ by the Spirit (d) – by following so close behind the lead of the Spirit that we keep in step with This commander (e). <Notes> a) huios: mature, like their father, ready for their inheritance, b) Galatians 5:18, c) Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1, d) Acts 9:31; Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16, e) Galatians 5:25.
It took a lot of practice for us to learn how to physically walk, leaning less and less on our parent’s arms, furniture, and walls. It will take lots of practice to “lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways to experientially, relationally know (a) Yahweh to make our paths straight and smooth” (b). It takes time to learn this and our unconditionally-loving Father gives us unconditional-favor-of-grace to learn this. He will do everything in His Spirit-power to help us move more and more from the flesh to the Spirit, and He loves it when we practice this. And He is not like many human fathers that yell, tease, criticize, berate, or beat kids for their failures! He is nothing but unconditional in His unconditionally-loving favor, only gently instructing and encouraging us, and is quick to applaud our successes! That’s what this SpiritMusicMeetups ministry is all about – learning how to do this together! <Notes> a) yada, ginosko, b) Proverbs 3:5-6.
I believe that God wants us to confidently walk in the Spirit and that means practicing this. I don’t think that means He wants us to use other people as guinea pigs (how unloving) as we struggle to “let go” of our flesh and “let God” take control by His Spirit. He wants us to use “training wheels” on our brand-new “Spirit bicycle” so that we don’t run into people and cars and who knows what else, hurting ourselves and others (how unloving). That’s why we need to make our private practice time a holy space. We need to spend a lot of time in there learning directly from the Holy Spirit, learning how to surrender control. As we develop more confidence there, we can take our “training wheels” off and ride with others in our neighborhood where it’s save, riding with those who also have “Spirit bicycles,” so our group practice time also needs to be a holy space. As we grow more confident in our “Spirit group,” then we will be confident to race as a “Spirit team” in public, whether to the saved or unsaved, still keeping this time a holy space. By the time we get to this point, we will have very little if any “flesh” left to confuse or hurt others (how unloving), but instead we will be filled by the Spirit to play anointed, prophetic, and even spontaneous music. Can you see that “trusting-relying-faith and unconditional-love” must go hand-in-hand, just as 1 John 3:23 combines them into only 1 NT commandment to keep?
Yet, after 15 worship bands since 1980, I can say that 90% of church musicians know very little of this experience about “letting go” of all their pursuit of skill and professionalism they work so hard on in their practice room and with their worship bands, and simply “letting God” when it comes time to worship “in/by/with [singular] Spirit and/coupled in/by/with [singular] Truth” in the assembly of the saints. They are still glued to their music stands, so concerned about getting it all just right to “honor God.” I’ve seen Christian groups get more bent out of shape in band rehearsals than the 25 secular groups I’ve played in! All this self-reliance and prideful striving is actually dishonoring to God, and the performance/showmanship of many church services actually grieves God – I’ve felt my insides just break down in tears! Just because you can’t feel this, doesn’t mean it’s not going on! I had one bass player at a huge church just rail on me for not playing my charts, especially after I told him that I rather the Lord lead me in worship. He told me it was “dishonoring to God and so unprofessional.” I laughed under my breath because he didn’t know that I have a 1000 charts in a huge accordion file from the 37 bands I’ve been in, and teach drumming professionally, but chose not to rely on the charts I did make and did practice before I got there. Boy was his judgment really off base – that log of criticalness in his own eye needed to be removed before he was qualified to pick specks of dust out of my eyes (a)! Since those days, I’ve relied less and less on charts even in my practice time, deciding I would rather practice playing a song over and over by the Spirit than spend 30 minutes writing a chart out only to have my eyes glued to it while playing – even in the assembly of the saints! <Notes> a) Matthew 7:3-6; Luke 6:41-42.
At telltale sign of trusting-relying-faith in the flesh is the lack of proseuche conversational-prayer! In several church groups I’ve played with, they prayed very little or not at all before rehearsals or church services! How sad is that? I even asked the worship leader at one church to do this but he never did! Yet most churches have stressed following their stage clocks to the minute so that every service would end exactly on time! If you ran over much at all, you would practically get yelled at by the pastor! That’s because they have to fit 2, 3, or 4 services in a day. Seems like greed to me! The results of a poor conversational-prayer life are devastating, whether in your own practice time, group time, or public time.
Please follow the BLOG Etiquette for the following links:
Learning by Revelation – Part 1: This is how I’ve been learning from about 2010, but especially since about 2018! You can learn so much more and faster this way than you can using your own “might and power” (Zechariah 4:6). It’s also a great way to learn and practice privately how to play Anointed, Prophetic, and Spontaneous Music, which is the whole purpose of this website. This is the New Covenant way of doing things – directly from God, bypassing all the middle-men! I will be exploring this method/process much more so look for more parts to this!
The KEY attitude/action that opens the door is your “let go and let go” confession and surrender of your own pride, BU of, and faith/trust in “might and power” external resources and internal ability in exchange for having faith/trust that if you A.S.K. God then he will GIVE you His “self-control or mastery!” (Galatians 5:23). You can’t have one without leaving behind the other, just as you can’t fully experience the New Covenant unless you leave the Old Covenant behind. I explain why! Chadash/Kainos “New” is unused, unprecedented, completely different-in-kind invention! If you rely on Law you will never experience Grace. If you rely on your own work/effort, you can never experience God’s work IN you! If you want to go forward, you have to stop dragging stuff from the past forward!
A.S.K. = routinely Ask and it shall indeed be given to you, routinely Seek and you shall indeed find, routinely Knock and the door shall indeed be opened to you.
If you feel pushed toward some “moving goal post,” stressed, strained, guilty, frustrated, impatient, irritated, depressed, angry, cramping, or even experiencing pain, you are “in the flesh” and not “in the Spirit.” Working and Trying Hard is the OT way. Rest and Peace is the NT way! Understand the difference by understanding your Identity! Like going on a pray walk, you can be in motion with your drums playing an exercise or whatever and “zone out” on the mechanics of what you are doing, as you are “staring with wide-open eyes” (optonamai) or “observing/perceiving-knowing/discerning” (horao) internally while you are proseuchomai conversational-praying with God, watching with the “eyes of your heart to be enlightened” and “listening with your inner ears so that you may akouo hear to understand/know for God to dialogue with you because you have faith/trust after you did your A.S.K. part! For more about discernment – see New Covenant Ways – BT16. You drew near/close to Him, so you are patiently-waiting for God do fulfill His promise to draw near/close to you (James 4:8) and that God is the rewarder of those who are earnestly seeking Him (Hebrews 11:6).
So you don’t have to JUST “Be Still/Quiet in order to Yada/Ginosko experientially know Elohim, the Majestic WE God.” But you can be distracted by outside noise or motion, so try to limit unexpected distractions. Mute your phone, shut your door, etc. Stop trying or working hard – this the OT way of “might and power” flesh! Rest in the Peace of the Holy Spirit and “let God” GIVE you revelation, enabling-power, and skill!
Turn off the “Analyzing Mind,” rest and feel the pleasure and joy of the Lord! More on this: If you feel intense Joy, Peace, Patient-Contentment, Curiosity, Desire to Explore to Discover to know the Truth, as I did, then the Lord told me that you are feeling Him so that you can know Him more deeply and naturally be more grateful and loving to Him in return. That’s what an love relationship is about – sharing experiences with one another!
Focus on the Spirit’s unconditional love: The Apostle Paul declared in Galatians 5:22-23 that “the singular fruit/nature of the Spirit is unconditional love.” I knew in Greek that the following are all adjective nouns acting as descriptive “flavors” of the singular fruit called agape unconditional-love: “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.” No rules are necessary when you have God’s unconditional-love – when you have the Spirit! Unconditional-love is the direct object of the verb “ongoingly exists as or is defined as.” Unconditional-love is the focus of the sentence – the point!
THAT is a big enough revelation concerning Drumming by the Spirit! But then God hit me with how the “flavors” are signposts or proofs that you are genuinely experiencing unconditional-love, the Spirit. The “flavors” are not our focus but a witness that we are heading in the right direction as we walk by the Spirit, nearing the Lord! Our focus is experiencing the Lord by walking by the Spirit, who is unconditional-love. For more, see the Unconditional-love page.
Keep the Joy in the Journey or end up with a Urn full of ashes: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.” Joy: Keep the Joy in “JO…urne… Y!” Adventure. Explore. Curiosity. We must remain as little children going out to play with our best friend, the Lord! For more about Joy, check out the Joy page.
Peaceful rest is a sign you are on the right track: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.” Peace: rest, calm, tranquility, satisfaction, contentment, and gratitude. No “blood, sweat, tears” work or strain or toil or burden – that is the demon taskmasters driving you to build Egypt’s vain monuments of pride, that are today’s moving goal-posts of this world. For more about peaceful-rest, check out this page. For more about directly learning from the Lord, check out the knowledge page. For more about how the New Covenant is radically different, check out this page. Finally, for more about the only 2 New Covenant commandments, see this page.
Have patience with your mistakes: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.” Patience: This is not “long-suffering” as some bibles say! If I flub up (sin – miss the target), STOP, admit (surrender and confess) that your actions aren’t working and they need to be erased/cleansed from your memory/life. Doing them faster won’t fix the problem – you will make more. Admit you obviously lack self-mastery! Ask for the Holy Spirit’s control. Open your hands and Let GO of your inability and receive His ability by faith (trust). Think about the correct action. Go SLOWER than you did before. Give your mind a chance to create a new better memory. Make it a habit, really consciously focusing on the correct action. When it is correct for awhile, test it by going a little bit faster. Crawl, walk, run, fly in that order.
Productive-kindness of unconditional-love: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.” Kindness: The Greek word chrestotes means: a kindness that is well-fitted for what is really needed, thus it is useful or profitable because it meets real needs. Thus, it is closely related to the next word agathosune for inherently good that stresses the kindly rather than the righteous side of goodness.
1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient and/coupled kind.” In Luke 6:35, Jesus tells people to go beyond the “Love your neighbor as yourself” commandment by “loving your enemies and/coupled do good … and you be sons of the Most High for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Now Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:6 links “patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, and genuine unconditional-love” as behavior of their ministry team.
Watch your words to yourself. Are they positive & encouraging or critical & berating? Talk to yourself as if you were a little child – kindly. Kind words get the job done. Critical words are self-destructive.
If you want to do the “right” thing, then be kind to yourself. If you feel “pushed” or “whipped” or “berated” this is the evil spirit of the Egyptian taskmasters. Rebuke them in the name of Jesus! Tell them to get lost! And then speak kind, loving words of encouragement to yourself. You may have fallen and skinned your knee, but you will be okay. You can get up and continue to move forward, one step at a time.
I highly recommend going very slowly and speaking to yourself the “useful, productive” steps you want to take. Get mentally coordinated first and take it one step at a time. Be kind to yourself. Go slowly enough for your mind to form all the chemical bonds it needs to create a good, solid memory. Only turn the hose on more after the water has really soaked in. This is really the fastest way to get fast – it’s not by being “impatient or unkind.” This is NOT good!
Going to a Good God in prayer is good: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.” Goodness: The Greek word agathosune is only used 4x in the NT and not at all outside of the bible. It means that which is healthy, effective, efficient, beneficial or useful, excellent quality, beautiful, honorable, and praiseworthy.”
Play until your drums until it looks and sounds “beautiful, efficient, effective, excellent, quality, and thus useful” like the Creator would make it. The Lord told me that He can be known more deeply when gazing into the beauty of His creation, even a sunset! So gaze into your exploration of music’s beauty. And you will feel really Good.
On 12/14/2020, the Lord gave me a vision about GOing to a Good God in prayer and this is really the best, good thing you could do to really get the “Doing or Working” to happen – check out the details on this page.
God’s love is full of enduring faith: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith/faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.”
Faith/Faithfulness: Pistis comes from verb pisteuo, which means to have trusting, relying faith. Although it comes from peitho, to persuade, it means much more than that! Sure God may have persuaded you mentally so that you believe, but it goes much deeper. Pistis was a Greek god from Pandora’s Box, “The Trustworthy One.” Thus it was used if something was trustworthy or guaranteed, like a warranty.
However, in biblical use faith is a relationship word. It is rarely used in the OT, but there it means steadfastness of trust, so trustfulness or faithfulness. Although “it does not in itself contain the notion of belief, it must necessarily presuppose it.” The book of Romans is based on Habakkuk 2:4 “The righteous shall live by pistis faith.” Paul adds, “from faith to faith,” a common idiom for 1 step to another of faith – see Obedient Steps of Faith.
In Galatians 5:22, God’s Unconditional love is full of trust, trust in Himself, and He is steadfast in it. He has no intention of giving up on us. His promises are sure. He is dedicated to finishing the race. He is faithful to us even as we falter!
In the NT, pistis faith also goes beyond belief to a conviction of trust. It’s unfortunate so many translations use the word “believe” for pisteuo! So much is written about enduring faith so it carries that idea of “full of faith or steadfast faith or trustfulness to the end.”
He gives each of us the same “measuring-cup” (metron) of faith – God is impartial! We are at the starting line of the Christian faith as equals. But what do we do with it? We are held responsible. Our act of faith in Christ is the victory that has overcome the world – and the Judgment Day will prove this.
However, as we “work with God” in koinonia fellowship instead of against Him, we grow in faith because of the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Like the disciples, we can ask: “Lord, increase our faith.” That’s a prayer that God will always answer cause it’s definitely His will!
Application to Drumming: The race is NOT finished IF you quit – you must go across the finish line. Don’t give up on yourself or what you are tackling. You can take a break, but come back fresh and tackle it again. The elephant can be eaten one bite at a time.
One thing I notice about little kids: They fall down a lot, cry, etc. but before long they are back up playing. Let’s be like little kids and get back to having fun playing! We can also trust God that as we do, we will keep learning and He will get us to where He wants us. God is faithful! Enjoy the journey!
Be gentle with yourself as you learn: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.”
Gentleness: The Greek word prautes only used in Galatians 5:23 and 1 Timothy 6:11: It is divinely-originated (Galatians 5:23 and 1 Corinthians 4:21 and Galatians 6:1) because it is a ‘flavor’ of the singular fruit of the Spirit that is unconditional-love. It comes from the wisdom of God (James 3:13).
Gentleness is a balanced meekness, a gentle strength/force that expresses power with reserve and gentleness, thus mildness from the word praus (gentle). A related word is praotes, similarly means temperate, balance of force and gentle reserve, showing a strength in gentleness where unnecessary harshness is avoided without compromising or being too slow to use necessary force. Both of these are passive, an attitude toward others in view of their actions. It is not weakness but exercising God’s strength/power under His control/reserve. When facing evil people, instead of of being self-assertive and fighting for our own self-interest, the Holy Spirit enables us to trust God’s goodness and ultimate control over the situation so we will not return evil for evil.
Epiekeia is distinctly active form of mildness/gentleness with the emphasis on equity or fairness, one’s deeds toward others, a relaxing of strict legal requirements of others, yet doing this in order to more fully carry out the real spirit of the Law, thus clemency in such a way there is no weakness or injustice. See Acts 24:4 and 2 Corinthians 10:1.
Gentleness is linked to Unconditional love, the nature of the Spirit: Galatians 5:23, 1 Corinthians 4:21, Ephesians 4:2. It is linked to humility and patience: Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:12. It is linked to being peaceable and showing complete courtesy to all people: Titus 3:2. Thus Christian ministers are to pursue this (1 Timothy 6:11) – there is much spoken prohibiting argument with your opponents (2 Timothy 2:23-25), even for Christians giving a defense of the hope that is within them (1 Peter 3:15).
Christ is our perfect example of gentleness: 2 Corinthians 10:1; Matthew 11:29, 21:5. And such followers will inherit the earth: Matthew 5:5. There is an inner beauty to a person with a gentle and tranquil spirit: 1 Peter 3:4. Christ’s way of teaching is based on this gentleness and humility: Matthew 11:29. Gentleness is how little children are taught – see The Least Among You page. It’s how the Holy Spirit teaches God’s children, Christ’s “little children” disciples. It’s to them the secrets of the kingdom are revealed.
Application to drumming: Therefore speak to yourself as if your a little child – gently. Don’t play into or past pain. Tension is Evil. Cinch by the inch instead of hard by the yard. Break it down into simple parts. Crawl, walk then run. Take steps of faith to be led by the Holy Spirit. Crawn, then walk, then run – all by the Spirit. Be systematic, methodical, simple, and patient. Say what you want (count & sing) for mental coordination before physical coordination. Create muscle memory for auto-pilot.
Surrender control to the Master’s control for skill: Unconditional love’s “flavors” of the “singular fruit/essence of God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): “Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control/mastery. Against such things there is no Law.”
The Greek word egkrateia means: self-mastery dominion, restraint, control that proceeds within oneself outward. We don’t control ourselves from the outside – we release it out of us! This is a “flavor” of the singular fruit/essence/nature of God’s Spirit that is unconditional-love.
The way to get God’s self-control/mastery is to realize and acknowledge we don’t have it nor ever will have it by our own “might and power” by can receive it “by my Spirit” according to Zechariah 4:6. Ask the Lord for His self-control! In the Surrender Control page on my website, you will find much about “letting go and letting God” – exchanging your obvious lack of self-control, your weaknesses, for the self-control of the Holy Spirit’s unconditional-love described in Galatians 5:22-23. It is ultimately where experiencing the “flavors” of the Spirit’s “fruit” will ultimately take you! Holiness or sanctification is the work of God!
But you can’t be ignorant or in denial of your flaws, your “missing of the mark” or sin! Instead be in agreement with God about them, i.e., confess them, and let the blood of the Lord Jesus wash all that failure away. Receive the divine propitiation, atonement, or exchange of Christ’s perfect self-control for your imperfect, severely flawed self-control. Receive this not only for your moral failures but also for your physical weaknesses, even your drumming ones.
Routinely “ask, seek, and knock” for the Lord’s self-control and you shall actually “receive, find, and have that door opened to you!” Remember that the Holy Spirit is the “Action Hero” of the Triune God – the Doer or Worker. He is the Supernatural Enabler! So call on Him to do this for you!
Please follow the BLOG Etiquette for the following links: