A few months ago, I came to terms with the fact that I really do like pop music. As I constantly listened to this mainstream radio music, I found myself feeling distant from the Lord, and like something was missing inside.
Our brains are divided up into six sections. When listening to music, more of these six sections respond than when we are doing any other activity. It’s no joke that music is powerful. But why? And does the music we choose to listen to affect our moods, emotions, and the way we respond to people?
Three things to consider:
1. We are always worshiping something.
2. The music we choose to listen to has the power to desensitize us.
3. What we allow in is what’s going to come out.
Most musicians have a general tone to their music. This tone could be anything from the pursuit of happiness, to anger, to harmony, to bitterness, to selfishness, to joy, to idolatry, to hope, just to give you just a few examples. Believe it or not, when we listen to music that models these tones, we are opening the door and making room for these things to enter into our lives, whether they are good or bad.
The word “worship” is often used in a religious setting, but at it’s core, worship is “reverence to something or someone that you see as more valuable than anything else.”
Our perspective on life and the world around us is adjusted by our worship. People often worship things like money and the feeling of being wealthy, or certain relationships with a particular boy or girl. In the Old Testament, the Israelites worshiped a golden cow.
When we understand the story of the Gospel, even on the most basic level, we see that God is the only thing truly worthy of our praise and adoration–our worship.
Something is always being worshiped in music, no matter the genre, the band, the decade, or the tone. Whether it’s God, love, money, sex, drugs, myself, independence, boys, girls, a utopian society, alcohol, etc., all music is the worship of something. When we fill our subconscious minds with music that worships certain things, even if we are just listening to the song because we like the beat, we are going to start to incline ourselves to consciously worship those things over time. These underlying messages of worship slip their way from the sound waves in the air to our ears, then on to our brains, and eventually into our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
We are called to guard our hearts. What does the music we listen to allow into them?
It’s common to turn to certain music when we are going through certain things. We have playlists dedicated to “songs for when we are feelings sad“, “songs for when we are happy“, and “songs for when we are mad at mom“. I want to present you with a challenge. The next time you are thinking about listening to music that agrees with how you are feeling, turn on some worship music instead. Be amazed by how quickly your emotions can flip as you begin to agree with who God is through the lyrics of music that both edifies you, and worships the One Thing in all the universe that deserves it.
All throughout Scripture we read about people “singing and making songs to the Lord“. This is why music exists: to bring God glory. Ultimately, He is the reason music exists. Because it came from Him, its purpose is to set our gaze on Him, and to declare how awesome He is. It’s from the Lord, therefore it’s for the Lord.
The culture of the world is opposite to the culture we are called to have as believers in Jesus Christ. There is a real Enemy out there, and he is going to try and use anything he can to distract us from God’s best, and that includes music. Many times we can find some truths about the Lord in secular songs, but the song as a whole is not going to be a pure representation of who God is. Let’s be a people who guard our hearts, take our thoughts captive, and leave no room for anything but Jesus to have a hold on our lives!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8