I don’t know anyone who does not like music. I have heard people say they do not like things that I think everyone should, like pizza and chocolate and ice cream (or chocolate ice cream!), but I have never heard anyone say they do not like music of some kind or the other. Music is magical and mystical in a way. Music, by its very nature, evokes emotion and stirs passion in our hearts.
We can hear the words to a song from many years before and be instantly transported to another time and place. We can remember exactly what we were doing and who we were with the first time we heard it. The music we listen to is the sound track of our lives, so we should choose wisely as to what we allow into our hearts through our ears.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Peer pressure can play a role in our decisions at any age, but for teens the added pressure of high school and trying to find where you fit in as you transition from a child to an adult can be very overwhelming. Making choices that go against the group, even when you know they are right choices, takes some additional intestinal fortitude (aka guts!).
Your friends will probably protest that “bad” music doesn’t cause bad actions, and perhaps hearing songs about sex with strangers and drugs with friends won’t send you out into the streets looking for the same, but it certainly is not edifying at all. Another question to ask yourself is, are the artists good role models? I think most are familiar with the Miley Cyrus fiasco. Many young people grew up watching her on Disney Channel and in movies, as well as transitioning to a fan of her early music. But I sincerely doubt that most parents would find her a suitable role model for their daughters any longer. For Christians to continue to be fans is to imply that they condone her behavior, although I am certain most, if not all, do not.
I know the argument also of, “I don’t listen to the words, I just like the music.” That may be most dangerous of all if we are passively allowing unrighteous lyrics to seep into our subconscious. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that music that glorifies unrighteous actions is not something a Christian should be listening to. No Christian needs a thousand words to tell them right from wrong. If we are followers of Jesus, we have the promised Holy Spirit, Who gives discernment and leads us into all truth. If we do not quench the Holy Spirit, if we listen to His council, we will not only know the right way, we will choose it as well.
Speaking from experience, I know it can sometimes seems that outside the walls of our churches we are surrounded by unbelievers, but I also know from experience that is not really true. Personally, I think it is a ploy of Satan’s to keep us quiet in public. Anything he attempts to stop you from doing is because you are making progress for God’s Kingdom, so ignore him. If you will step out you will find others who are like minded and may be waiting for someone to lead them.
It damages your witness to go along with the crowd in doing things that go against what you believe. How can you preach about God, Who is holy, while you partake of unholy things?
The Bible says:
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. Psalm 24:3-4
We know how God has saved us and given us new life and the imputed righteousness of Christ and our choices sometimes preach louder than our words. If you are no different than the world, you are not glorifying God.
I have heard many times, and I am sure you have too, to picture Jesus with you when you are engaging in an activity to judge whether it is right, or to imagine your Pastor with you, so I am going to skip those and give you this illustration instead. Imagine your parents listening to what you are! Horrible, yes?
We should honor God at all times in all ways. Choosing Godly music not only glorifies God, but it raises us to the throne room itself where we may worship our Holy God and fill our souls with light. Satan is the author of all evil. If you are not following God, you are following Satan by default. Forsake the darkness and choose the light.
Very good points. I think, too, that what we fill our minds with becomes a comfort in the real world in hard times. If the music that comforts us says a bar-room flirt brings happiness, we may not believe it initially. But when times are painful, the idea becomes an option to consider. GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Good thinking points in your piece :)! Nice job.
Thanks, Billie Jo. I find God frequently uses song lyrics to speak to me.
Words of wisdom, Sonya…clear and to the point. Good article.
Thanks, Stephanie. I appreciate your feedback.
Well put and yes we must choose our music carefully. There is nothing like praise and worship music to honor our Father and the enemy scampers at the sound of it.
This article speaks to me a bit as I went through some of this very kind of thinking and discussions in my youth.
I was into hard rock and heavy metal, and much of it does have very strong dark messages. Even into outright Satan worshipping.
I remember having debates about this with friends of the family. Including the mother of the family next door, who was close with us. And I often used the very argument about how I enjoyed listening to the music, and the words were often lost on me. And I really did believe that. I still feel that.
But in retrospect, maybe I let too much bad messages into my life through that time. And maybe it has played a role in the problems I’ve faced in my life.
These days I rarely listen to music at all anymore. Which is a shame, as music is powerful and can create such uplifting swells of emotion, or make you feel nostalgic for other times. Good feelings, sad feelings, etc. But somewhere along the way I just sort of lost interest in music, and spent much more of my time using video/television/movies as an outlet in that regard.
I was an amateur musician myself for a time. I often miss the times when I played the guitar, and hope to be able to buy one again some day. It was a nice outlet. Helping me express my own feelings and emotions.
Thanks for your comment, Jim. I think that much of that stuff is subliminal. We are taking in much more than what we think we are. I have been doing some song writing lately. It’s a lot of fun 🙂 Glad you have joined our group. You’ve had a rough time.