Last night, during a phone conversation with a dear friend, we touched on the topic of Christians and secular music. As the call ended and I thought over the matter, a thought came to mind:
“I would rather my children listened to secular music from which they themselves can pick out the blatant contradictions to the truth we believe, than for them to listen to ‘gospel’ music that forms a mindset in the listener about God and about Christianity that is wrong.”
INPUT = OUTPUT
It has become common knowledge that we are a product of what we put into ourselves, whether in the physical realm (our bodies) or what we refer to as the ‘soulish’ realm (our minds).
What we feed our bodies produces what we see in our bodies and our state of physical health. The jokes and cartoons have gone round on social media portraying someone with no self-control when it comes to eating praying against calories…..and we laugh (because it is ludicrous). No matter how hard you pray, if you overeat constantly, you will become overweight and eventually suffer from obesity plus the different other health conditions affiliated with obesity – heart issues, joint issues, diabetes, etc. If we eat nutritious, non-processed foods, our body systems will function optimally as our tissues and organs are well nourished. God has made our bodies to function this way.
Our thoughts, words and actions come out of what we have stored in our minds. A person who feeds constantly on stories that are rooted in hatred will have hateful thoughts, speak hateful words and carry out hateful actions.Let us think about what Paul said to the Romans:
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (Romans 12:2, AMPC)
As Christians, our entire life is a journey of being transformed into the image of Christ – our thoughts, words and actions gradually matching those of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15) . Our born again spirits are alive to Christ and aligned to Him but our flesh – mind/thoughts, emotions, will – need to undergo continuous transformation. This transformation doesn’t come by trying to keep a list of rules (ask the Jews who tried to live by a massive set of rules but couldn’t). God knew we couldn’t achieve this by the law and made a way for us thought Christ so we could be born again and have His Spirit live in us by faith. Then as we feed our minds with the truth of His word, keeping our eyes on Jesus, our Example, this same Holy Spirit makes these words become life to us and transforms us from the inside out (2 Corinthians 3:18). It’s spiritual but it’s not magic. There is a process of input and output but with the Holy Spirit giving life to the ‘letter of the word’ so that it goes deeper than our minds and into our hearts, where transformation occurs.
So back to the starting thought.
When a Christian is listening to a secular song (secular meaning not connected with religious or spiritual matters), he should be aware that there is a high likelihood that the lyrics will contain something that is not truth according to our Lord Jesus, who Himself is the Truth. So if he is serious about his faith, he will be able to pick out the lyrics that contradict the Word of God and reject the lie. A really serious Christian would thus be careful about the secular songs he actively listens to (as you can’t avoid hearing songs at occasions and in public places or means of transportation) and would probably ensure more of his listening is to songs that speak truth.
However, when a Christian listens to a song tagged a ‘gospel song’, his guards are down because he believes this is godly music. Yet following the principle of ‘input = output’, if the songs he listens to indeed mention God but portray Him or Christianity in a false light, the undiscerning, gullible Christian will feed his mind with falsehood and will live out a form of Christianity that is not based on truth. For instance, if the songs I listen to constantly say that I will never suffer because I am a Christian, this is not true. Jesus said,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NKJV)
Tribulation: a cause of great trouble or suffering; distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution; a trying experience.
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30, NIV)
Paul, without doubt a great apostle, acknowledged that life has its ups and downs:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13, NIV)
A person whose mind is constantly fed with the lie that he will not suffer any trouble or that life will always be pleasant will not be able to have the attitude that Paul demonstrated with his words. It sets him up for serious disillusionment and a sense of disappointment in God because he believed a lie about how God works or how Christianity works.
So I would not want my children to be fed lies or half-truths through music they embrace wholeheartedly believing it must be okay because it has the tag ‘gospel music’. My greatest desire for my children is that they live sold out for Jesus, conformed to His image and what they feed their minds with is key.
I hope you, my reader, will become more discerning of what you allow to settle into your subconscious and conscious mind through the music you listen to, especially if you want to live for Christ in this fallen world.