Music, Sound for God's Glory?

21/03/16 13:27

Isn't it infectious! A funky beat and some lyrics that seem to roll off the tongue. I don't know about you but I can listen to a song maybe three times and can know most of the lyrics. It's a shame that I am tone deaf as I could probably make a career out of it! It was only when I began examining the outside influences of my life that I contemplated the place of music in my life.

Like many nineteen year olds I can't survive without music in the background. Even as I type this I have Phil Wickham's CD Ascension playing. The Lord entrenched music into our Christian faith via the Psalms and the Bibles references to music. The word trumpet appears 61 times in the King James translation of out Holy Book. Below are a few quote where music is meantioned...

'God has gone up with a shout, The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.' Psalm 47:5

'Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!' Pslam 150:3

'Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord' Ephesians 5:19

'I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.' Hebrews 2:12

'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.' Colossians 3:16

Often the lyrics of secular music are overly violent, rude or sexual. Even the music videos resemble what can only be described as dramatized pornography. Women are often objectified, men stereotyped and races insulted by the themes of some music. This is not the kind of music we see written about in the Bible.

What many music producers don't realise or maybe choose to ignore is the age of those who are influenced by the music they write and the videos they film. Kids clothing departments mirror the garments (or lack of!) worn by the stars in the media. Young people sing in the playground or listen from their devices to songs of themes I did not even contemplate at age 7! Our young people are from an earlier age experiencing adult themes and material which can distort their views of the world and the way God wants us to be.

As someone who is interested in Youth Ministry, I often overhear young people talking about how they are going to lose weight or their next MK handbag. But when I was their age all I was concerned about was when my homework needed to be handed in, and when the next episode of 'Tracy Beaker' was going to air! The sexualisation of young people today is something discussed by secular and religious people alike. And it is something worth bearing in mind when considering what content we allow into our minds as God's Children.

Now I am not trying to give you a prescription for what you need to ingest and not ingest to be a Christian. The Lord enlightens us all about different struggles in our lives and things that attack our soul and covenant with him.

I found that the lyrics of secular music were filling my mind. I can be just doing the washing up and a random chorus can play over and over in my head, almost trying to fill empty space! Often these lyrics had swear words or were of a theme inappropriate to the current situation. So I thought, why don't I use this habit of mine to praise God?

So I dug out my old Tobymac and Planetshakers CDs and made them a permanent fixture in my car, rather than reserving them for my weekly jam on the way to Mass on Sunday evening. I made Christian playlists and stuck to them. I also discovered seeds family worship, a ministry that works to get God's word into every home by putting scripture into songs.

It can be very expensive to buy music whether it be CDs or as digital downloads, however Youtube has some brilliant playlists already made up by channels so it is well worth searching there before spending.

As I began to have Christian music in my day to day life I started to spot God's influence in the music. Sometimes it was a piece of scripture that I recognised, or a line that I felt God was singing to me. But I knew that God was supporting this change in my life and I had begun to feel better for it. My mood was more lifted than usual and the attitude I took to tasks or trials was more positive.

I will list below a few artists who have really encouraged me through my journey:
Tobymac, Planetshakers, Phil Wickham, Unspoken, Tenth Avenue North, Rend  Collective, The Afters, Matt Redman, Matt Maher, LZ7, Capital Kings, Royal Tailor.

Now, I am also going to acknowledge that Religious music is not without its pitfalls. It could be very easy for us to idolise these artists. Many of them are good looking, dress nicely and seem to have a more glamorous lifestyle than the average Joe! I even felt myself do it! I felt gutted for days that my forthcoming mission trip would cause me to miss my favourite bands appearance at my local Christian Music Festival. However we must remember that these artists have put aside the possible millions to be made in the secular industry to glorify God. They have decided to use their talents and careers to turn the spotlight off of them and unto Christ. And we should not allow our personal feelings get in the way of what God wants to do in their lives or in ours.

So I do encourage you to examine how big an influence music is in your life, and whether you can use your love of it to worship and enhance your spiritual life. If you are a parent or caregiver, how much do you know about the music and media your kids are taking in? And as a Child of God, do you use every opportunity to give him honour and praise?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father above,
You are indeed the fountain of all that is good and Holy. Thank you for the talents of music that many of us have. I pray today that you can show yourself to us and that we can connect with you more fully through the power of music. We pray for all your children who are given negative influences by the media and we pray that salvation may be the one true goal for us all.
In Jesus name, Amen

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