As a professional musician, I have been aware of the power and influence of music for many years. Every generation has been moved by the music of its’ day: from folk songs to classical, jazz, pop, rock,rap, and hip-hop, music has touched the hearts of millions throughout the history of our country. Music motivated thousands of young men to enlist in the armed services in World War I and World War II, and encouraged thousands of other young men to protest the draft and military service during the War in Vietnam.
Music inspires people to fall in love, and is always waiting with a heart wrenching ballad of rejection and depression when falling out of love. Music connects with the soul, the mind, will, and emotions, and has power to influence the most important decisions in life. God knows this, for He created music. Satan knows this as well, for he perverts and manipulates what God creates.
MUSIC MOVES THE CHURCH
God created human beings with voices that were to be used to praise and glorify His Name. Most of the great composers of what we call classical music began their careers in the church. Many modern icons like Elvis Presley started in church. Johann Sebastian Bach, called by many of the father of harmony, spent his entire career in the church. The great Christian reformer Martin Luther once said “next to the word of God, music deserves the highest praise.” Luther understood the power of music and wrote many hymns, including the classic “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” Music not only moves the minds and emotions of the world, it moves the Church of Jesus Christ.
Much has been said about popular music styles from generation to generation. Some are convinced that jazz, rock, hip-hop, and other forms are the devil’s invention. Satan cannot create: he can only destroy and manipulate. God created Lucifer, satan’s previous moniker, as a musician empowered to worship and praise Him, and since his fall from heaven he uses music to incite fear and rebellion against God and His Word.
No style of music is inherently demonic. The components of rhythm, melody, and harmony are not evil. They are neither moral nor immoral in themselves. When woven together in a musical tapestry they provide a suitable backdrop for the most important thing in any song, the lyrics. No particular style of music has the potential to bless or harm in and of itself, but lyrics can. Rock music style has been roundly criticized as the “devil’s music”, but it is not the music alone that Satan uses, it is the lyrics. Romans 10:17 tells us “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God” in the same way, fear, the opposite of faith, comes by hearing the word that Satan pushes. The more we hear the word of God, The more our faith grows. The more we hear the word of the enemy, the more our fear grows. The issue with rock and other modern music is not the music itself, but the lyrics of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Of concern for the church is not the style of music played in worship services, concerts, or on our personal electronic devices, but the lyrics associated with the music. Many songs wear the label Christian, but have lyrics that are contrary to and in opposition to the Word of God. Songs that tell us it is not always God’s will to heal, that God desires for some to be poor, and that God desires to break us are not consistent with the word of God or the message of Jesus. Jesus did not come to break us, He came to restore us! He never made anyone sick, poor, or afflicted anyone’s children. Anyone that came to Jesus and asked if it was His will to heal them received the response “I will.” Jesus always said yes to healing. He still says yes today as Hebrews 13:8 informs us “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever”
Religious songs with lyrics contrary to God’s word are more dangerous to our walk of faith than most secular tunes. I do not recommend a diet of secular music, but when we hear it, we are prompted to discern if its’ message is positive or negative. On the other hand, we tend to accept on face value any song performed by a “Christian band” or played in a worship service. Many Christian songs are written about the composers’ personal experiences in life, which they interpret to be ordained by God. They view the Bible and what it says through the lens of their circumstances, rather than viewing their circumstances through the lens of the Bible. No matter how well-meaning such compositions may be, if they are contrary to what the Bible says, we should not listen to them, or sing them ourselves. They are faith destroyers.
MUSIC THAT INSPIRES
Jesus said in John 6:63 “the words I speak to you are spirit and life” He never spoke a word contrary to the scripture. He also said in Matthew 12:37 “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” The words we hear become the words we speak and sing. What we say and sing feeds our minds and emotions. We should not listen to a Christian singing about his or her depression any more than we should listen to a secular artist doing the same. What we hear we will think, and Paul tells us how we should think in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”
Choose music that inspires you and encourages you to believe the word of God. Worship Him in the beauty of holiness, and receive everything He has in store for you. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God” (Romans 10:17) Something to think about!