As long as I can remember, I have always loved music. It has been an important part of my life and continues to be to this day.
When I was 12 years old I took over mowing the lawn across the street for $5 a week from my older brother. I am pretty sure that 99% of that money went towards buying new music. I would find my way to the Sam Goodies at the mall and find a new band or new album from a band I already loved. It was something I looked forward to each week for sure.
The Cure, Depeche Mode, U2, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, NIN, Sublime and Blind Melon are just a few of the bands I became devoted to. Not to mention my appreciation for Metallica, ACDC, Led Zeppelin, The Wu Tang Clan, Rage Against the Machine and many, many others.
I would stay in my room and listen to this music all the time. I would go to sleep with it on. Wake up to it. Listen to it in my Walkman. Listen to it all the time. It was, in many ways, the soundtrack of my life.
The saying, “hindsight is 20/20” is so true. Looking back, I can easily make the connection between this music and my rebellion. The music fueled the sinful nature that was raging inside me. The lyrics of these songs became a powerful potion driving me off the cliff.
The three idols of the music industry are Sex, Drugs and Rock-n-Roll. By the time I was fifteen I was chasing them all. Encouraged by the music I loved and the lyrics I memorized through repetition. I worshiped at the feet of these gods and served them diligently.
The fact is, music is powerful. It has the ability to impact your mood, your dreams, your beliefs and even your world view. It secretly steers and directs you to follow the heart and ideology infused in it.
I chased the 3 idols of the music industry until I was 23 years old when Jesus saved me. I was born again. I was transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and was now something I had never been before. I was a new creation in Christ. The old things passed away and all things became new.
It was only days later that I found myself at the local pawn shop getting pennies on the dollar for my most cherished possessions. My CD’s. I smashed a few of the worst ones (NIN) but sold the rest for cash. I would just smash all of them if I had it to do over again, but the Lord knows my heart.
Fast forward 18 years and I am still a huge music lover, but my musical choices are radically different. Not so much in regard to style (although that has matured a bit), but in the heart of the music.
And this is where I want to admonish and encourage you; so take it like a man (just a figure of speech, ladies) and listen to what I have to say to you. Christian, this is important.
YOU NEED TO BE PRAYFUL AND THOUGHTFUL REGARDING THE MUSIC YOU ARE LISTENING TO.
In today’s music scene the believer has a huge selection of “Christian” music to choose from, so that there is no credibility in the excuse that you can’t find the music style you like. You can, but let’s be honest. You haven’t really tried. You just keep defaulting to the music of your youth.
First of all, not all music has to be a worship song to be a good Christian song. Many good Christians are making a wide range of music in a wide range of styles that have the right heart and ideology behind them without being overtly Christian. Do some research on the artist. It’s called Google. Try it. I Google search every “new” artist I think I might want to listen to.
Second, stop thinking the radio is actually playing a good example of all that is available. They are only playing the top 20 “popular” songs and artists over and over and over and over and over again when some of the best artists you never heard of are rocking it out for Jesus!
Next, realize that worship IS valuable. You need to make sure that is a part of your regular listening rotation. I only really listen to “Christian” music but much of it is not what we would label, “Worship” and even though the music and lyrics have the right heart and ideology, there is no substitution for worship as a child of God. You need it. You really need it to be a part of your life. It makes a huge difference. Trust me. Try it. AND by the way, today’s worship music comes in a very wide range of styles so again YOU DO NOT HAVE AN EXCUSE.
Finally, bite the bullet and get a digital music service like Google Music, Apple Music or Spotify. All of these will provide a nearly endless supply of good “Christian” music both pure worship and not. Just be aware that their suggestions are not always going to hit the mark, so Google them before you partake.
I firmly believe that music is a gift from God. It is a powerful tool, like so many other things, that can be used for good or evil in your life. I exhort you to redeem it. Make sure it is a force for good in your life. Don’t give the enemy this secret path to your heart and head. Make no provision for the flesh.