What Kind of Instrument Are You?

In Sunday School, we have been studying the book of Daniel.  It’s one of my favorite books to study!!  It has history, stories of incredible faith and courage, fulfilled prophecy, and things yet to come. It’s quite an exciting book and I get something different out of it every time I study it.  This last Sunday we were discussing Chapter 5 and looking back at some cross-references where everything that was happening in Daniel’s time was prophesied.  One passage in particular was from Isaiah where King Cyrus of Persia was mentioned over a hundred years before he was even born.  I love reading things like this and seeing how God sees the whole picture from start to finish.  He sees what is happening before people are even born and knows what is going to happen long after.  I find great comfort in that fact.  So, as we were discussing King Cyrus and everything that was described about this Gentile ruler, a comment was made that he was God’s instrument to accomplish His will.   I have thought about that statement several times since.  King Cyrus was used as God’s instrument to bring back the Jewish captives to their homeland.  He also helped them to rebuild their temple.  King Nebuchadnezzar was also an instrument to do God’s will but in a completely different way.  God had been patient and slow to anger long enough concerning His chosen people’s idolatry.  His wrath was unleashed through King Nebuchadnezzar as ruler of Babylon to come in and take over Jerusalem. 

This subject can get a little complicated and confusing.  I am a believer in free will.  Every person has a choice to believe or not to believe.  Every person also has a choice of whether to live in obedience to God’s will or choose disobedience, even as a believer.  God knows from before the person is even born what choices each of us will make and He can use whomever and whatever He needs to accomplish His will.   We are His instruments in order to carry out His grand plan.   The question that I have been pondering over the last few days is, “What kind of instrument am I?”  Of course, being a musical person, I think automatically about musical instruments in this thought process. 

When I was in the sixth grade, in my last year of elementary school, I heard some amazing news!  They were going to start a sixth grade band!  This was the first year that this had happened.  (This is when elementary school was K-6 instead of K-5 as it is now).  When I heard that band practice would happen during P.E., which I absolutely DESPISED, I wanted to sign up immediately.   I went home and talked to my mom and she said yes and she encouraged me to play the flute.  We went to the orientation night to try out and select which instrument we wanted to play.  I did try the flute, but I couldn’t get a sound out of it even after trying several times!!  It also had SOOOO many buttons that I thought it looked too difficult.  I moved along through some of the instruments to try out.  The clarinet and saxophone were also out…too many buttons.  Moving down through the sections, I get to the trumpet.  I immediately was able to get a sound out of it and it only had THREE buttons!  That was the sensible pick, so, trumpet it was.  I know that band students have a reputation of being the geeks in the school.  Looking back, I’m sure that was the case.  However, I made some of the best and lasting friends through my experience with band.  Many wonderful memories were made and a love for music was created and nurtured.  

After being in the band for seven years and choir for three before graduating high school, then majoring in Music Education in college, I have been surrounded by instruments and a whole lot of music.  The last few days I have reminisced about my band and choir days from middle school through college.  Sometimes funny to look at your life at what you are doing compared to what you are trained to do.  I went to college to be a music teacher and at this current stage in my life, I am a homeschool mom, digital designer, and I work in marketing with my husband….all of which are not what I would have imagined myself doing.  I’m not complaining about it at all, but it’s just funny to see what you actually end up doing sometimes.  I do miss music though.  I miss choir much more than band.  J I miss being moved to tears by beautiful harmonies of voices blended together.  I miss great and timeless choral literature that has been passed down through the ages.   Even though I have temporarily traded in choruses of beautiful harmonies to choruses of, “MOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!” from my boys, it is exactly where I need to be and where I desire to be.  I do want to be in the center of God’s will completely and entirely.  I want to be His fine-tuned instrument wherever He needs. 

How does a literal instrument work?  On it’s own, it can do nothing.  It is merely a tool that a person uses in order to make music.  The instrument is simply the vessel to make the desired sound by the musician.   That is just how we are.  We are God’s chosen vessels to accomplish His will.  From time to time, instruments need tune-ups and maintenance. 
--Daily and many times during a rehearsal with my trumpet, I would have to use the  
   spit valve to avoid the gargle sound my spit would cause.
--Regularly valve oil had to be in order to keep the valves from sticking. 
--Occasionally, I would take the whole trumpet apart and clean the insides in the   
   bath in order to clean out the tubing inside with a little brush. 

All of these things are done so the instrument is working as properly and as well as it was created to do.   If a person is God’s child and has accepted Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior, they are given the Holy Spirit.  God Himself takes up residence inside the person empowering that person to have victory over sin and selfish desires.  However, we are told in Scripture that a believer can quench the Holy Spirit.  We don’t and can’t remove it, but it is not working as freely and effectively as it could.  When you compare this to an instrument, we as believers can neglect maintenance required for the best use. 
--Daily, believers should be in His Word and praying, dying to self, and confessing
--Regularly, believers should attend church and fellowship with believers.  It holds
   us accountable, helps us to grow spiritually, and is a source of encouragement.
--Occasionally, we need to have a time of cleansing and allow God to search every
   part of us to see if there is any unconfessed sin.  Also fasting is sometimes needed.    
   (I have yet to be successful in the fasting section!!!  I am so weak!)

If we as believers neglect our spiritual maintenance, then we can be spiritually stopped up!  We can quench the power of the Holy Spirit becoming “gargley, sticky, and gunked up,” not working to our full potential.  

Non-believers can also be used as God’s instruments as well.  For example, Judas was not a believer.  His great sin wasn’t simply greed it was unbelief.  I have often wondered how could a person be right there walking and serving right beside Jesus Christ Himself and not believe, but that’s exactly what happened.  We have the same thing happening today.  People who hear, see, and witness the power of the gospel yet do not believe and surrender.  Judas was used as God’s instrument to carry out His plan for His only Son to be crucified.  Judas chose himself, but God knew what he would choose to do and He used Him to carry out His plan.   In my limited understanding, this can really blow my mind.  I just trust in the fact that God is in complete control and His plan is always best. 

I’d like to ask you as I have asked myself this week:  What kind of instrument are you?  Are you His child and even have the power of the Holy Spirit?   If you are His child are you functioning as a finely-tuned instrument that is working to its full potential?  This takes continual effort.  There are times in my life I can answer yes to this question.  No, I’m not or haven’t been at a level of perfection, but there are times that I can really feel empowerd by the Holy Spirit more than others.  Then there are times that I have neglected my spiritual maintenance and have allowed sin to go unconfessed, priorities to be out of whack, and to be charmed by worldly things.  At these times, I am being an instrument that isn’t working properly.

When you are in an ensemble, choir, band, or orchestra you work together with one another to blend voices or instruments together.  However, some people sing a bit too loudly either to show off their voice or to be heard over everyone.  Some are trying to set their own tempo and aren't on the same beat with the rest of the group.  There are some who are just a bit sharp or a bit flat that can cause your ears to go into convulsions.  And there are some who are completely lost in the music and have no idea where they are.  The same is true in church.  We are called not to be a soloist, but working together with other believers.  Some in the church don't want to blend together for the common goal and purpose being surrounded around the gospel.  Our purpose in the church is much like an ensemble...to work together in harmony, not dissonance.  We each have a unique and distinct voice, but we are to work together to make one harmonious sound.  

I saw a quote the other day that I loved.  It said, “funny how a melody sounds like a memory.”   Actually the quote for me should also be, “funny how a phrase reminds you of a melody which sounds like a memory.”  If you’re around me much, you know I frequently break out in song.  I really do try hard to refrain or it would happen much more.  The comment in Sunday School reminded me of a song we sang in Women’s Choir in college…”Make us, make us instruments of Your peace.” 

What kind of instrument are you?

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