The Message in the Song
Many folks don’t really pay attention to the lyrics of a song they’re listening to. They enjoy the music, perhaps pick up a repeated phrase here and there, but don’t really sit to listen to and think about the words being sung…..the message of the song. Yet, the words of songs do have a tremendous effect on our thought processes which affect our words and actions.If we hear often enough that a certain way of life is acceptable, we will eventually come to a point when we begin to consider that it actually might be okay even when deep inside, we know otherwise. The devil knows this all too well and is using the tool of music (and other forms of media) to wreak havoc in the lives of people and whole communities.
Every song has a message, be it overt or subtle. The message is delivered nicely wrapped up in the music. It’s a bit like how medicine is put into capsules so although it looks like it’s just those soluble capsules we’re swallowing, the effect on the body will come not from the external capsule but from the inner contents of it. The listener might not be conscious of the lyrics or message of the song, but those words are being stored in their subconscious. Do you recall those moments when you caught yourself singing a song you normally would not be caught dead singing…..simply because some days ago, it was playing on the radio on your way to work? You didn’t think about the lyrics, did you? Yet, you were able to sing them a few days later.
As music ministers, what is our role in this war for souls?
The ministry of music is all about helping people express their heart to God and intimate with Him (congregational worship) and also about delivering God’s Word/the gospel encapsulated in music – for “showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.” (2 Timothy 3:16, MSG). The music on its own cannot have any lasting effect on a person’s heart/mind. It is only the Word of God/the gospel of Jesus Christ that is:
• able to renew the mind, replacing wrong mindsets that are at variance with the way God sees things (Romans 12:2);
• the very power of God working for the salvation of everyone who believes it (Romans 1:16, PHILLIPS);
• the Truth, the knowledge of which will set men free from all sorts of bondage (John 8:32).
Our assignment as music ministers is to minister Truth that will help the listeners grow in their relationship with Christ and in Christ-likeness. If our songs don’t achieve these, we have failed God. So, by all means make the outer capsule of excellent quality, be innovative and creative with your musicality and delivery, but do ensure that the inner content of the capsule is the ‘real deal’ that will do what only God’s Word can do in the life of a person.
What can we do starting today?
1. When learning a song, look intently at the lyrics and analyse them for content as relates to the Word of God. Are the lyrics in line with God’s Word? Are they glorifying Jesus or man (ourselves included)?
2. When you are invited to minister anywhere, ask the Holy Spirit what message He wants you to pass across for Him before you select the songs you will sing. Remember, you are only a vessel that He can use. The agenda must be His. Whose agenda are you promoting with your music/singing – yours or God’s?
3. When leading praise and worship, be clear about which songs are songs of praise, songs of thanksgiving, songs of declaration/victory, songs of consecration, etc. and put together your song list purposely with a direction. Think about it this way: If somebody really sings these songs with understanding, would they open up their eyes/heart to see God for who He is and as a result, worship Him sincerely? Or would they just dance or even kneel, raise hands and emote massively but not connect with God on a deep level?
4. Write songs with more Word content. This doesn’t mean necessarily quoting whole verses but the message in each part of the song must be consistent with God’s Word. For instance, don’t write ‘I will always abound’ when the Bible talks about learning to both abound and be abased.
Lord, please help me not to become so full of my own skills and musical accomplishments that I believe my own hype and forget it is You who put the gift of music in me….. for a reason. I choose to serve You with this gift – to preach Christ in season and out of season through music. Thank You for grace to fulfil my call as a music minister. Amen.