Finding the Melodies of Life (a metaphor of holiness) – Chapter 4 “Blaring for Jesus”


Chapter 4

Anything Blaring for Jesus”

(Corporate Holiness)

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” -Halford E. Luccock


Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  -Andrew Carnegie


There’s an old saying about playing music that goes like this; “If you can’t hear the person next to you, then you’re probably playing too loudly.”  This applies in life under so many different categories as well.  There is a vast difference between hearing something and listening to something.  We can hear background noise, but hearing something does not mean that we are actively applying our sensory perception to that sound.  We hear a multitude of sounds every day all around us, yet we seldom apply our ears to actually listen to these sounds and noises, they are just background noise. 


When I was first able to play my cornet in a band setting, I was so proud of myself!  The practices alone in that little chapel had been paying off, and I was getting better at playing that brass instrument.  I could now play my “C” scale with very few mistakes, and my embouchure on that small metallic mouth piece was getting stronger with more confidence.  But there was a real danger in this overconfidence of mine; I wanted everyone to hear how good I was sounding.  I had these dreams of people standing up and applauding my amazing musical abilities, and so when we began to play our first song, “Anything for Jesus” in that little beginner band, I played as loudly as I possibly could.
too loud

I don’t think that the musical terminology “triple forte” could even begin to describe how loudly I played that song.  Perhaps a more appropriate description of that moment would be that I blasted the song “Anything for Jesus”…it should have been renamed “blaring for Jesus” right then and there.  The bandmaster stopped the song midway through a measure, and I thought to myself “he’s going to congratulate me on my performance, I hit every note and it sounded great!”  Instead of congratulating me, however, the bandmaster looked at me and said quite solemnly, “Scott, you are playing too loudly, so loudly in fact that I cannot hear anyone else!”  Then he looked at the entire band and said, “If you can’t hear the person next to you, then you are playing too loudly.”  His words stung me for a moment.  I thought I would receive a compliment for all of the hard work that could clearly be heard in the proficiency my playing, but instead I had been told to play softer.  I was so conscious of my own abilities and my own progress that I had failed to see the big picture in this beginner band.  I wanted everyone to hear ME and to say how greatly I had improved but I had failed to understand how important it was for the rest of the band to be heard as well. 


The disciples were arguing among themselves as they tried to figure out who would become the greatest in the kingdom.  They had been with Jesus for a while now and perhaps they felt that it was time to have some sort of “disciple midterm exam” to see how they ranked.  What I would have given to be a fly on that wall during that heated discussion, each disciple comparing their accomplishments and achievements, all the while vying for status a position, fame and recognition.  They didn’t get it.  Jesus had not selected His disciples for the purpose of notoriety and fame; instead He had selected those who were willing, those who were available and those who would serve.  Jesus interrupted their dispute because He knew what they were thinking and He responded to their shallowness and appetite for attention: “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”       (Luke 9:48)


Jesus still calls us to serve Him and to spread the good news of His mercy and salvation.  But our service isn’t about tooting our own horn for the sake of our glory and positional aspirations!  Corporate holiness has little room for “blaring for Jesus”, but has concert halls ready for the symphonic sounds of togetherness as we collectively strive to reflect Christ. 


Much Later

These same disciples, post Ascension of Jesus, were gathered TOGETHER in prayer and complete submission before God.  As they yearned to hear from Him, they were united and joined together, prepared to play a tune that would shake the very foundation of the world…and still that tune is being played.  We call this moment Pentecost, for as they gathered together and yearned and prayed the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they were able to speak in the various tongues of those who had gathered in Jerusalem that day.  How were they able to do such an amazing thing that day?  The Holy Spirit did the work, of course, but how did the Holy Spirit fall upon them?  The answer is that they were together, united under one holy purpose and they had become the least of these in their humility and their service before God.  They had stopped blaring their own tune and begun to play the music of a holy calling.   

Ephesians 4:15-16 (NIV)
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”


There is no doubt that individual holiness is crucial and should always precede corporate holiness, but without corporate holiness the band cannot improve, cannot become cohesive and cannot become synchronized.  We not only have a responsibility to play the music that God has called us play as an individual, but we have a responsibility to play the music in unity, together as a cohesive band.  When we can play the notes as a synchronized, single minded orchestra, the music then can become fuller and more pronounced as does the message of Christ. 


What we can learn from the Old Testament Hebrews

The people of Israel, God’s chosen set-apart people, were to exercise qadosh not just as individuals but as a corporate body.  Sometimes we miss the point of why God had called His people to be set-apart.  We often misunderstand this to mean that the Jewish people were the only ones worthy enough of this claim, yet time and again they failed to live up to their calling.  We often misunderstand that their “setting-apart” to mean that they were some sort of exclusive club in which they were to look down their noses at others nations living in that same time and space.  The truth behind God’s purpose for setting the Jews apart was to show the rest of the world how to live.  God was showing the rest of the world how to be restored to their original created intent.  Being set-apart as a corporate body isn’t so that one part of the body can be “blaring for Jesus” and be seen by the rest of the world, but instead the corporate body can properly display and reveal the Holy Christ who brings restoration to everyone seeking Him.  Jesus came for the least of these, and still He desires this reconciliation of the world to Him regardless of race or creed. 


How is your corporate holiness today?  Is there cohesiveness and unity in the body of Christ where you serve?  Or are there many cornets blaring for Jesus, out of sync and far too loud for anything else to be heard?  Jesus desires us to play the music He has called us to play.  He desires us to become His reflection in this world and to be joined/grafted into His body which is His mouth piece here on earth.  Unfortunately, this synchronized unity rarely remains intact in churches today.  Oh if we would just humble ourselves, become the least, ready to serve instead of being served.  Perhaps like me you need to stop playing at triple forte so that others in the band can be heard.  Remember, if you can’t hear the person next to you then perhaps you’re playing to loudly.  


(tune Anything for Jesus)

Jesus thou hast won us,

Saved us set us free

Now Thy hand upon us,

Bids us follow Thee.

Sin’s dark ways forsaking

Filled with new desire

We, our vows are making

‘Neath the blood and fire.



Lord our vow performing

We will fight for Thee

Hell’s dominions storming

Other souls to free


2.  Comrades here remind us

We are not alone,

Thou to them dost bind us,

They and we are one;

All, our vows observing,

One great Army make;

Praying, fighting, serving

For thy Kingdom’s sake.


3.  On to full salvation,

This shall be our goal;

Thine in consecration,

Body, mind and soul;

On to holy living,

Weakness left behind;

Perfect service giving,

Perfect joy to find.

Previous Chapters:

“Finding the Melodies of life (a metaphor of holiness) – Chapter 3 “Practice makes qadosh”

Previous chapters:



Chapter 3

Practice makes perfect qadosh

Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” –Unknown

All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 26 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! 27 I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (MSG)

I must be careful here when I use this metaphor comparison of practicing to become perfect in music to be similar to holiness.   We must strive for excellence in our personal and spiritual lives, this is true, but holiness is not perfection in the way that we view earthly perfection.  The literal meaning of the word qadosh which we use when we refer to holiness is not perfection, but rather it implies the personal intent to be set apart.  Being set apart means that we as children of God (those who have a relationship with Christ) must separate themselves from the old ways of living…in this we must practice and strive for excellence.  Being set apart takes practice and discipline.  When we become saved we receive the Holy Spirit (initial sanctification) we are made aware of our short comings and sin.  At the altar we commit our lives to Christ, it is at this point that the Holy Spirit begins this work within us to help us maintain the commitment to Christ to remain set apart.  In the Wesleyan tradition they would call this progressive sanctification, meaning that the Holy Spirit’s help enables us to make steps towards reflecting the very image of Christ in our lives.  Is entire sanctification possible?  Yes, but let me again reiterate that our aim is not perfection but reflection of Christ.  Practice makes perfect…perhaps we should alter this phrase to say, practice makes qadosh. 


Coming home from school when I was just learning to play the cornet was something I began to dread.  I knew that as soon as I came home, I would have to make my way across the courtyard where we lived in the church parish house into that tiny chapel and pick up my instrument and begin to practice my scales.  I began to hate coming home after school to practice.  While I was sitting in that little chapel, my friends were having the time of their lives playing soccer and having wild adventures and doing it all without me there.  But day after day, hour after hour, I would sit there and try to make that cornet sound like an instrument instead of a screeching and dying animal.  Many times while in these practices I would become frustrated with the lack of progress I was making.  I would want to quit numerous times but over the frames of his glasses, my father would look at me and remind me that “practice makes perfect”.  Boy did I begin to strongly dislike that phrase!   What does practice makes perfect mean anyway?  Is it just something someone says to keep another striving harder?  There in that little chapel, sometimes with tears in my eyes as frustration mounted, I wanted to do anything but practice…in fact I wanted to run away from it all, to quit and not look back…but I didn’t.  As I’ve grown older and hopefully wiser, I can now see the wisdom in that phrase, for as a child I needed prodding, encouragement and even discipline to complete the task of practicing, let alone perfecting anything.  Over and over I would try, and over and over again I would fail.  When confronted with a task such as practicing, failure is a very real, tangible practice partner. 


Ask anyone and I’m almost positive that they would agree that failure at something, anything is never our aim or desire!  Failure, in my opinion is feared above most things.  But when failure is viewed in the aspect of practicing, one learns to embrace it.  Don’t misunderstand me though, I don’t mean to say that we strive to fail, but what I am saying is failure journeys along with us in the practice room as we strive to perfect the music.  Failure is a part of the practice; it is both to be hated and something to motivate us to do better next time thereby removing that failed attempt and replacing it with a successful one.


“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” 
― Billie Jean King


When I sat in that little chapel practicing for what seemed like hours, I was being set apart to get the music right.  I wasn’t placed there to make the music sound perfect but in my practice I was striving to sound better, to play better and more confident in my music abilities. 


God created each of us for His holy purpose.  He wants fellowship with us on a daily, even moment by moment basis, but without the practice of spiritual disciplines which includes intentionally setting ourselves apart with the intent to study of His word and prayer; we will not truly become His holy people.  The practice of solitude with God means that we MUST set aside time for the most important relationship that we have here on earth and beyond. 

Holiness cannot take up root in our lives, or will be extremely stunted if we do not seek to have qadosh as a key ingredient.  Being set apart means so much more than just getting away from the old sinful life, it means that we are intentional about living for Christ every day…and that takes practice! 


    “Holiness, as taught in the Scriptures, is not based upon knowledge on our part. Rather, it is based upon the resurrected Christ in-dwelling us and changing us into His likeness.” ― A.W. TozerPreparing for Jesus’ Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope


Is it your desire to be changed by the Holy Spirit for a holy purpose?  Then practice it daily even moment by moment!  Without personal intent within the realms of Holy Spirit led prodding we will not become proficient children of God. 

I am reminded of a song as I close out this chapter, it goes like this:

(Song #495)

I’m set apart for Jesus,

To be a king and priest;

His life in me increases,

Upon his love I feast.

From evil separated,

Made holy by his blood,

My all is consecrated

Unto the living God.


I’m set apart for Jesus,

His goodness I have seen,

He makes my heart his altar,

He keeps his temple clean.

Our union none can sever,

Together every hour,

His life is mine for ever

With resurrection power.


I’m set apart for Jesus,

With him to ever stay,

My spirit he releases,

He drives my foes away.

He gives full strength for trial

And shields when darts are hurled;

With him and self-denial

I overcome the world.

William James Pearson (1832-92)

The Song Book of The Salvation Army: Issued by the authority of The General.

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