“And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.” Proverbs 4:23-24
Last week I told you guys that my posts over this next week would be focused on my newfound understanding of the importance of obeying God’s Word. Well, I guess it’s not a really a new understanding, just more of like, the light bulb turned on in my brain and showed all the horrible things that are in my life simply because I’m not living God’s way. I think we all know I’m ridiculously long-winded (my children confirm) so I’m breaking this revelation into several small parts, giving you insight on how each area of sin has really affected me, as well as the freedom that’s come with obedience.
Today I will be talking about music. Don’t leave, I know nobody wants to give up their favorite tunes for bland worship songs. Nobody wants to hear that the music we listen to is a powerful influence. Truthfully, it’s really easy to overlook. It’s even easier to make excuses for. For me, music is one of my biggest vices, and it likes to hide under a disguise of adjectives like inspiring and motivating, sometimes downright positive. But is it really?
I started paying close attention to the lyrics of the songs that come on the radio as I take my daughter to school in the morning. I’m more of an alternative rock girl than a pop princess, but I let her listen to what she likes for that 10 minute ride, cuz why not? We car dance and break it down, belting out our favorite songs at the top of our lungs so the people in traffic around us give us weird looks. It’s kind of our thing. There’s really nothing wrong with that, except as I felt the Holy Spirit convicting me in this area, I started paying closer attention to what we were singing.
Usually, if a song is blatantly disgusting and perverse, we change it. I’m not gonna sit there and sing about strippers, rape, prostitution or the oh so trendy 50 Shades of violent sex with my 11 year old daughter. But how many of the lyrics to the songs we do listen to subtly (or not so subtly) give her the impression that she is only worth how sexy and sensual she is? Or how wealthy she can become? How many songs are increasing the division and hatred between races? Here’s one not often talked about – how does music affect the way we believe the opposite sex think and act? My daughter thinks all men are disgusting pigs. I always thought I somehow projected that idea onto her because of my own issues, and I probably have, but listen to the top 40 pop songs. I can’t even find one where a man is not speaking in a lustful or derogatory way about a woman. In the same respect, I hear too many songs where women value themselves the most as power-hungry gold-diggers who use sex as a weapon. Do I want my son to believe that this is how women should treat him? Like something to use and dominate? So much of the music we listen to is saturated with themes of lust, greed and hatred. I’m certainly not saying every secular song is evil, but I wonder how many of Satan’s lies about who we are become planted in our minds each day as we listen to this crap. What are we allowing ourselves to believe is normal behavior?
Here are some of the lyrics to the songs that came on this morning:
“She gon’ strip it down for a thug, yeah, word around town she’s got the buzz, yeah, five shots in, she in love now…..You know I love it when the musics loud, but come on strip that down for me.”
I don’t feel the need to explain why this song is totally inappropriate.
“Don’t be afraid to catch feels, Ride drop top and catch thrills, I know you ain’t afraid to pop pills, baby, I know you ain’t afraid to catch feels, feels with me.”
This actually a catchy little song that I enjoy listening to. It’s not terribly explicit or anything. But try explaining to your 11 yr old what it means to “catch feels”. Then ask yourself why you don’t even bother explaining the double meaning behind the statement when popping pills becomes involved.
“It beats me black and blue but it f**** me so good and I can’t get enough. Must be love on the brain.”
Nothing about that statement is love. Nothing. But our kids believe it is. Halle loves the crap out of this song. I am ashamed that she knows every word.
It’s not just rap and pop music that we need to watch out for. Here are the lyrics from the first 4 songs on one of my playlists:
“I can’t get a job, so I live with my mom, I take her money, but not quite enough, I sit in the car and listen to static, she said I look fat, but I look fantastic. Come back down to my knees, gotta get back, gotta get free, come back down to my knees, be like them, lean back and breathe.”
“Yeah you don’t know my mind, you don’t know my kind, dark necessities are part of my design; tell the world that I’m, falling from the sky, dark necessities are part of my design.”
“Soy Un Perdador, I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me.”
“All my life I’ve been searching for something, something never comes, never leads to nothing, nothing satisfies but I’m getting close, closer to the prize at the end of the rope; All night long I dream of the day, when it comes around, when it’s taken away, Leaves me with the feeling that I feel the most, feel it come to life when I see your ghost. And I’m done, done on to the next one, Done, done on to the next one, done I’m done and I’m on to the next one. hey don’t let it go to waste, I love it but I hate the taste, weight keeping me down.”
What can I even say. These songs are written from a place of hopelessness, a place I identified with before I knew Christ. Are they evil? Maybe not, but do they reinforce the feelings of fear and depression that have a major grip on my life? Yeah, I think they do.
I didn’t write about this to beat a dead horse. We all know music has a way of seeping into our souls and changing the way we think. I wrote about this because my disobedience to God in this area is keeping me from the freedom I keep praying for. I have always struggled with believing that I could be loved, I have always fought feelings of worthlessness. Insecurity has destroyed my life. As I sit here and read through the lyrics of my music, I don’t know, I just feel like I’m pumping poison into my veins and wondering why I’m so sick all the time.
I’m not going to tell you to stop listening to secular music, that decision is between you and God. God often speaks to me through secular music, as well as T.V. shows and YouTube videos. When the Walking Dead came out, God showed me so many parallels and taught me so many lessons, I could write a book. In the same way, as I listen to music with a heart of love for Christ, I hear the Holy Spirit speak. Sometimes it’s a gentle conviction as I hear something I identify with, sometimes it’s a love song that I sing to God in worship. Sometimes he speaks understanding to me about something or someone who needs prayer. God can speak through anything. I don’t believe that everything that’s not labeled “Christian” is bad. But I would challenge you to really sit and look at what you’re feeding your mind. Look at what types of challenges you deal with on a daily basis. Is the music you listen to consistently affirming Satan’s lies about you? If so, you’re going to lose that battle if you don’t change what you’re letting in.
I’ve made some changes to my music habits. I’ve been going through every playlist I have. I’m looking up every songs lyrics. If it directly opposes God’s Word, I’m getting rid of it. Period. I’m making it a priority to add in some music that directly speaks the Word of God into my life. I don’t care too much for most Christian music, I think it lacks…something. Talent, passion, a beat. I don’t know, it’s just not music that motivates me or that sounds interesting most of the time. That’s a discussion for a different day though. Regardless, I am searching for Christian music I love, and in addition to removing anything that opposes God’s truth, I will be adding at least 3 Christian songs to every playlist. If I find something I like, I listen to it while I’m cleaning, keep it playing while my kids are home. That way, what’s going into their hearts is of God, not of the world. This has been a good starting point and I am seeing a difference in my thought life already. It’s easier to believe the best about my boyfriend when I see him as God sees him, not what my music says I should prepare for. Since I cut out many, many songs, I’ve watched just as many of my insecure thoughts and assumptions go with them. Since I’ve made an effort to listen to Godly music when I’m feeling down, instead of my own music, I can honestly say that feelings of depression are on a major downward trend. It seems silly but it’s true. Pray about this and come up with your own plan of action. Be intentional about what you’re feeding your soul.
I know I’m not the only one who struggles to find Christian music that they actually enjoy listening to. So I have made a list of some songs that I like. Warning, I’m partial to 90s rock so some of these songs may be old. Sorry not sorry. Check them out, check out the artists, see if anything sounds good. If not, start doing your own research on whatever type of music you like and just add a few Godly songs to your gym playlist or when you take a shower. Start small. As you weed out the negative, you’ll feel a huge change in your heart.
Christian Music I Love:
* Some of these artists do not operate under Christian labels, however their music reflects their Christian beliefs.
- Running With Giants – Thousand Foot Krutch
- Feel Good Drag – Anberlin
- Bummin -Relient K
- Sadie Hawkins Dance – Relient K
- Open Up My Heart – Isla Vista Worship
- Strong Tower – Kutless
- Awake My Soul – Mumford and Sons
- I will Wait – Mumford and Sons
- Joy – Newsboys
- Oohs and Ahhs – NEEDTOBREATHE
- Hard Love – NEEDTOBREATHE
- Loneliness and Alcohol – Jars of Clay
- What If I Stumble – DC Talk
- Awake and Alive – Skillet
- Monster – Skillet (A favorite of both of my kids too)
- Forever – Red
- Where The River Flows – Collective Soul
- Hit Me Like A Bomb – Third Day
- I Need A Miracle – Third Day