Music is a thread that runs through me. And just like touching one key on an out of tune piano can cause it to interfere with the neighboring strings, creating a clashing, a disharmony, that is what happens when you are not in tune with Jesus.
I associate music to a memory. My mind is like a movie set to the soundtrack of my life. I recall something, and there’s a song to go with it. Or if I hear a song that I know, there’s a memory to go with it.
I remember as a young child I would sit in front of my parents’ record player. You know–the one in a hutch. It had the eight-track, the record player, and the radio. All behind closed doors. I loved to listen to the “Best of Dolly Parton”. I loved “Jolene” the best. And then there was Jerry Lee Lewis’s album. I just couldn’t get enough of “Great Balls of Fire”. Even as a small child, I knew good music when I heard it.
A Quick Note About Jerry Lee Lewis:
He was raised in a Christian home. His parents mortgage their home to buy him a piano. His mother enrolled him in Southwest Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas, so that her son would be exclusively singing his evangelical songs. But Lewis daringly played a boogie woogie rendition of “My God Is Real” at a church assembly that sent him packing the same night. Pearry Green, then president of the student body, related how during a talent show Lewis played some “worldly” music. The next morning, the dean of the school called Lewis and Green into his office to expel them. Lewis said that Green should not be expelled because “he didn’t know what I was going to do.”
Years later Green asked Lewis: “Are you still playing the devil’s music?” Lewis replied “Yes, I am. But you know it’s strange, the same music that they kicked me out of school for is the same kind of music they play in their churches today. The difference is, I know I am playing for the devil and they don’t.”
The Savage Beast
There is a quote on the Offspring album and it is this:
And while that is true, it can also have the opposite effect.
After my parents divorced, my dad remarried. With this new marriage came a new type of music into my life—classic rock. I was 14, depressed, hateful, and confused. I fell in love with classic rock. It spoke to me. It plucked away at a great tempo and rhythm on that thread that runs through me. I was its puppet. Of course, you would never have convinced me of that. I thought it was just reiterating what I was already feeling, not realizing that it was feeding the negativity. (Feed me, Seymour!)
I started smoking pot, cigarettes, and drinking at 15. Hey, I’ve always been an over-achiever : ) Even though I was still going to church, hitching a ride with a little old lady from the down the road, I was not focused on God. Going to church was just a way to meet guys. I look back at my teenage self and cringe. I know that it helped me become the person I am today, but it doesn’t mean it’s not painful to peel back those layers. I just don’t do it that often. I know that I’m forgiven, and I have forgiven myself. I think it’s just that there are so many “me”s out there in today’s society, and there’s just not enough time to reach them all. (Click here to read One Fun Mom’s post on Past Sin.)
I remember riding with a friend of the family once, and she was listening to Christian music. I specifically remember thinking, “How boring. I would never listen to Christian music.” Here I was, a girl raised my whole life in church, saying this.
Above all of the physical addictions, music was always the current running through me. Tons of studies have been done proving the effects of music on a person. I was no exception.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
If I feed my negativity with Pink Floyd, Metallica, Pearl Jam, the Cranberries, Offspring, Stone Temple Pilots, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton or something or someone besides Jesus, it is going to create a disharmony within me.
Even though Satan can’t read our thoughts, he does throw fiery darts at us. And music is definitely one of his tools. Are we guarding our minds? Are we “bouncing” our bad thoughts, or are we nurturing them?
What about your teenagers? You better check what’s on that Ipod. Google the lyrics. Watch the music videos. Even some of today’s Christian music is rhythmically dangerous.
What do I mean by that? A missionary to Africa once told our church the following:
While over in Africa, one of the groups that he was ministering to brought up some of the American Christian music. The African said that they do not allow it, because it is the same rhythmic beat that they would perform their tribal dances to, many of them resulting in sexual displays.
How many of your kids have said “I just like the beat of the music.”? Is it making them shake their booty? Heads up!
You should not be bumpin’ and grindin’ to Christian music. If the music makes you want to throw your hands in the air and it ain’t got nothin’ to do with Jesus, that needs to be brought under control.
Am I exaggerating? Each Tuesday I take my kids to what is called Kids Beach Club. It is a Christian outreach that is done at the public school after hours for 3rd – 5th graders. I also help out while I’m there. And pray. I pray for these kids while I’m there. So, anyway, part of what they do is action songs. The songs have great lyrics. BUT they also have “a great beat”. The kids can’t tell a difference between this music and the world’s music. Some of the girls—10 years old!—get up on these little stepping stools and dance. Ain’t no praise dancin’ either.
People are affected differently by different music. Personally, we enjoy listening to Toby Mac in our house. We do not dance to his music. We do, however, clean house to his music. : ) So I’m not going to say “Group x, y, and z is bad Christian music.” As with all things, you need to examine your own heart, your own actions and make decisions that are based on the personal convictions God has given you.
All things work for the good of God FOR THOSE WHO LOVE CHRIST AND ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE!
I bolded that last part, because most people leave that part off. If you’re sticking a needle in your arm, it ain’t working for God’s good, people. You have to love God AND be doing work in line with HIS purpose, not your own.
See what I mean? Where’s the rest?
When I started to learn the piano two years ago, my prayer was for God to use me through music. To take this thread and have it resonate Him throughout my whole being, to the point that others would be affected by it. And He has done that. But it is only because the music is coupled with His Holy Spirit. It’s not my playing that attracts people, it is His presence that draws them in. I am not a prodigy. I am just a submissive and willing recipient of His grace and mercy. God will use you if you let Him. If your motive is pure.