By Justin Edwards
Music is perhaps the most ingrained form of entertainment in our society. From the moment we entered the world, lullabies were whispered into our ears to sooth us and help us go to sleep. We use music to help us learn, to help us think, to motivate us, to energize us, to calm us, to make us happy, to help us cope, and to make us laugh. Most importantly, God designed music to facilitate worship as we sing songs of praises to the Lord Most High. He also tells us in Ephesians 5:19 to be filled with the Spirit,
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
So if God designed music to primarily bring Him praise and encourage one another, what does that say about the music in our iPod? It should be made clear that styles of music or the purpose of music is not what should be questioned, but rather the content of the music that should be our concern.
The subject of music can be very controversial among Christians. While one might say his particular taste of music is the only acceptable style, he will not find biblical support for his position. But what does the Bible say about content? Here's what we find in Philippians 4:8,
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Colossians 3:1-2 says,
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
And further, in Colossians 3:17,
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
What does this mean then for our music tastes?
I love music. I don't have a musical talent in my body, but I do love music. Over the years I came to enjoy music from all genres. Some of my favorites were Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Korn, Metallica, Ben Folds, Rage Against the Machine, Black Crows, A Tribe Called Quest, Guster, Eminem, Guns n Roses, Fleetwood Mac, 311, Bob Marley, U2, Pharcyde, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Al di Meola, John McLaughlin, The doors, Jimmy Buffet, Van Morrison, Led Zepplin, O.A.R., Michael Buble, Wu-Tang Clan, Tori Amos, Dr. Dre, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Porter Wagner, B.B. King, Grateful Dead, Blues Travelers, Snoop Dogg, Diana Krall, Phish, Bela Fleck, CSNY, Pink Floyd, Peter Tosh, Jason Mraz, Foo Fighters, Paco de Lucia, Counting Crows, and countless others. That should give you a decent idea of the range of music I enjoyed. At one point I had nearly 30,000 songs in my Rhapsody account, which was enough to crash the system and afforded me a few months free service. I love music. But did I love the right kind of music?
Perhaps you like some of these musicians. There are a few of those I mentioned above that might still be ok for me to listen to. I love jazz music, blue grass, and classical guitar. All fine in my book. But you might be surprised to learn that some of the folks I used to like are most unholy, some even under the control of demonic influence. Don't believe me? I've got a great resource for you.
You may have heard of Good Fight Ministries and their DVD work, They Sold Their Souls for Rock n Roll. Pastor Joe Schimmel, who is endorsed by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, has put together an excellent interactive tool for you to explore the depths to which Satan has control over the music industry. If any of the music in your iPod might be U2, Santana, The doors, Pink Floyd, or Led Zeppelin, then you will surely need to watch these exposés . To learn that Zeppelin's Jimmy Page was a devout Satanist has blown my perception away for one of the bands I used to "love". I knew the likes of the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync were not good news and the lyrics hinted of sexual innuendo, but I had no idea to what extent these lyrics were sexually explicit. Santana actually channels demons, and U2 considers Jesus a dead man. Even Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys was heavily under demonic influence. The most disturbing video I have seen is about the demonic possession of The doors' Jim Morrison. Stevie Nixx of Fleetwood Mac is a witch, Sarah Mclachlan blasphemes the Triune God, and Tori Amos love Satan. Other exposés include Eminem, Sting, Prince, Kiss, Van Halen, Madonna, Korn, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, DMX, Kid Rock, AC/DC, Elvis, The Beatles, The Eagles, Snoop Dogg, Kirk Cobain, and more. In addition to music, Good Fight Ministries has a collection of exposés on Hollywood that you will definitely want to check out.
I'm sure some of you are thinking, "come on now, you're off your rocker!" I might have said the same thing before I viewed these videos. But what I watched was these musicians in their own words divulge who their master is, and I assure you it is not God. Before I viewed these videos, I had gradually lost my taste for most of these performers since I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ in March 2009. In wanting to fill mind my with heavenly things, I stopped listening to this music and eventually lost interest in the tunes I used to enjoy. Much of this music is merely dead to me now, and I find so much joy listening to God-honoring music. Now having learned the "inside story" for many of these folks, I find it amazing the majority of their fans have no idea as to what they're really about.
As Christians, we are called to come out from the world, touching no unclean thing and refusing to yoke ourselves with unbelievers and the things of the world (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). So what does that say about the music we listen to? We must ask ourselves whether the content of the music is acceptable to God. How do we know what is acceptable? Well, is it sexually explicit? Is it immoral? Does it glorify materialism? Does is blaspheme the character of God? Does it glorify sin such as drunkenness, drugs, murder, theft, lying, cheating, disobedience and dishonor to parents?
How much of the music we listen to actually spits in the face of Jesus Christ? How much sin is glorified when that very sin is what nailed Him to the bloody cross? Scripture tells us to flee these things, yet for the sake of entertainment we compromise God's standards of morality. Scripture says we are to
put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
We are to flee sexual immorality. Are we fleeing sexual immorality when we endorse the lyrics of these artists by listening to them on our radios and iPods? Are we fleeing idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14) when we endorse lyrics that promote the use of drugs and lying, blasphemy, pride, cheating, drunkenness, and all sorts of evil? My dear friends, this is not a matter of Christian liberty, this is a matter of doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and meditating on things that are pure, noble, and true. Can you listen to sexually explicit lyrics in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?
In a day where deception has run amok, we must arm ourselves with the Word of God and submit to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2). Not only are we accountable for what we allow into our minds through our eyes and ears, but we are responsible for our children and will be held accountable if we steered them in the wrong direction. For those with children, is music an area where you have compromised? Rest assured, lyrical content has not gotten any purer since the sex and drug revolution of the 60s and 70s. If anything, lyrical content has gotten much worse with pop culture even exploiting young teenage girls (eg Miley Cyrus). When 8 year old girls are singing "you gotta rub me the right way" to the tune of Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle", it is evident we have reached moral bankruptcy. What are you allowing your children to listen to?
I challenge you to seek the Lord with this issue. I am so thankful God continues to renew my mind and transform me away from being conformed to the world. Indeed, the less our minds are filled with glorified sin, the more we can dwell on the things of God and not be distracted by the very things God hates. Pretending you can like their music without endorsing what they do or say is not acceptable or possible, for you are endorsing their lyrics by condoning them and taking pleasure in them. You are deceiving yourself. If pop music is something you enjoy today, I challenge you to hone in on the lyrics you are listening to. If they glorify sin, change the channel or throw it in the trash. If your rock n' roll glorifies sex, drugs, and occultism, burn it. If your hip hop glorifies riches, drugs, drunkenness, sexual immorality, theft, and murder - throw it out the window.
Isn't it time we stopped compromising and believing the lies the world throws at us? Isn't it time we filter our music, TV, movies, and books to only allow things that are pure to enter our minds? Isn't this the essence of setting our minds on things above, and not on things of the earth? It cost Jesus Christ His very life and the wrath of Almighty God was poured upon Him to make a way for us to be forgiven, isn't the least we can do is offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him (Romans 12:1)?
Please check out the exposé theater at Good Fight Ministries and pray the Holy Spirit changes the way you think about secular music that stiff-arms the holiness of God. You will be thankful you did as the Lord Jesus Christ has much greater things for you to love, enjoy, and be blessed by.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. - 1 John 3:3