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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Strauser

A Life in Tune

When I was a kid I took piano lessons. Now before you get some picture in your mind of me sitting in front of a piano and skillfully dancing along the keys, I must stop you. Of all the forms of art that I have tried, music was the one that alluded me the most. It did not come easily, which frustrated me to no end. I didn't like most of the parts of it, the practicing was dull, the hand placement was awkward, and the whole “you must do things the proper way” chafed me. All in all, I walked away knowing very little but developing a deep respect for those that did.

During my time clunking around on the keys, my parents saw an ad in the paper for a free piano. I convinced them that it was a lack of the proper equipment (hitherto I was using a flimsy beginner’s keyboard) and not a disingenuous attitude that was causing me to struggle. So off we went to go and pick up my new piano. After much struggling, (who would've thought they were so heavy) my new piano was set up and I sat down to play it. As I began playing, I hit a sour note. Somewhere along the line, the piano was knocked out of tune, though I doubt it was properly in tune when we picked it up either. With the cost of tuning so high and my interest so low my parents wisely decided to just leave it as it was.

I don't know how much longer after getting my piano I continued with my lessons. Eventually, I stopped going but from time to time I could still be found messing around on that old piano, though I largely left those sour notes untouched because when they were used they would ruin the sound of the entire piece.

O LORD, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you."

- Psalm 125:4 NLT

When I came across this verse in Psalms I thought of that old out-of-tune piano. While it was fun to mess around on it couldn't create anything truly beautiful because the keys were out of tune with each other. Whatever was played on it ended up sounding different than intended. The only way to fix it would be to tune the instrument to a single standard. The body of Christ is no different, all pieces of the body—all the lives following after Him—must be tuned to a single standard so that we can function properly. Only then through our lives lived in tune with Him we can be used to create something truly beautiful.

You know one of the greatest surprises that I have found in this life of radical surrender is the relationships that God has forged along the way. I didn't realize how much I was missing until I had found them and I can't even begin to put into words what they mean to me. “Friendship” is far too shallow and “family” doesn't hold the necessary depth either. They are deeper than those things, more pure and holy and precious. They are lives lived in tune with God that are therefore in tune with each other.

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.”

- A.W. Tozer The Pursuit of God

The Bible is the fork that our lives must be tuned to. Not just the parts that you like or the parts that you agree with or the parts that you are already walking in, but the Bible as a whole. God gave us the best diagnostic tool—a tuning fork, if you may. Are you using it as such or when pressed are you producing a sour note?

The only way that we are going to walk in the unity that Christ talked of (John 17:23) is if we are allowing our lives to be tuned to the standard of the Word rather than tuning ourselves to the standard of one another. You see if I took that old piano and tuned it all to a note that was sour, that sour note wouldn't sound so offensive but as a result, the whole instrument would be out of tune. I believe that in the name of unity, as a body we are trying to change the standard so as not to offend and therefore sabotaging our effectiveness in the process.

Now please don't hear what I'm not saying, unity is incredibly important! A body cut into a million little pieces can by no means function. My point is the only way that we walk in unity is to be tuned to the heart of God first so that in turn we may be tuned to each other.

How do we tune our hearts to God? I think the best place to start is the simplest, by praying a daring prayer, “Search me, O God, and point out anything that offends you.” But simple doesn't always mean easy. We can pray till we are blue in the face but nothing will change if we are not willing to submit to the process. Your process may look different from mine, but one thing I can promise you is this: there is a response required. The question is, dear ones, are you willing to pay the price to walk the line so that we can all walk in the unity of heart and spirit that Jesus died for us to gain?

Written by Amanda Strauser

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