There are a lot of varieties of music, and there are also a lot of opinions about music. Let’s think about the music we listen to. Let’s try to determine whether our music is good or should be excluded from our life.
What are some Biblical principles we can apply to our choice of music?
First, is it worldly? There is no question the world has music that dishonors God.
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” God’s Word is saying we should not be conformed to the world, or in other words act like or be fashioned like the world. We should not listen to music like the world’s music.
One author says: if you were hungry, would you go to the pizza restaurant and get a pizza, or would you go to the dump and search through all the trash for something good to eat? The pizza restaurant, of course. The good food in the dump would probably be contaminated from the trash, so you wouldn’t want to eat it.
It is the same way with music. Many songs are good and honoring to God. This is the “pizza.” Then, there is the worldly music, which has some neutral mixed in, but we could argue much of it very bad, glorifying or promoting sin. This is the “dump.” It is much more sensible to go to the pizza restaurant and listen to good, godly music, than to go to the dump of worldly music and sort through all the rubbish to find music that is OK to perhaps fit our entertainment desires.
Next Biblical principle, could it hurt our testimony? The Bible says we should be light to this world. If someone were to walk by and hear our music, would they be able to tell that we are different? If they knew we were a Christian, would they wonder why we were listening to it?
Could it also cause another fellow believer to stumble? Romans 14:21 says, “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” Can our music cause another believer, perhaps a newer Christian, to stumble down a path into music that dishonors God?
Next, could it have power over you? 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Paul is telling us that we should not allow anything that can have power over us. Things like music and pictures CAN have power over us! Did you know that scientists have done experiments with what’s called a tachistoscope that show that the brain can take in information without you knowing it? They had people watch a movie in a theater. The tachistoscope, which is sort of like a very fast slide projector, was showing slides that were trying to convince the audience as they watched the movie to buy food and drinks. The slides were moving so fast, however, that the audience didn’t see them. Or did they? The popcorn sales raised 60%!
Listening to music is not the same as watching a movie, but it is similar. Our minds can actually take in information without us consciously knowing it! This can happen with music too. Store managers buy music from companies who know the science behind music. They can play different music on different days depending on how busy it is to control the flow of people. Music is important in TV or radio ads or to set the mood for something in a movie. One major music marketing company says, “Shop longer. Spend more. Repeat. That’s our focus when it comes to retail.” Another says, “How Exactly Do You Get More of Them Into Your Business?” Well, believe it or not, the key to this lies in your customer’s perception and memory, and there’s a way that you can access it … with MUSICAL BRANDING. Companies believe it when it comes to making money, and we should too when it comes to living for our Maker and Savior. The truth is, music, even the style of music, affects us!
Is your music sinful based on these questions?
Sometimes we know something is a sin deep down, but we like the sin and want to keep doing it, so we try to justify it. Here are some justifications that we can get caught in with regard to music:
We might try to say, “I don’t listen to the words or the music style won’t affect me.” As we have already shown, even if you don’t listen to the words, the music will still affect you maybe without you knowing it.
We also could say, “Most of this music is OK. I will just tune out or avoid the bad music.” Will others know you are taking this approach (kids, relatives, friend, etc.) or could this be a stumbling block? Will others hear the music glorifying sin? Do you really think we can fully tune out the bad? Will we hear it, start liking it and then down the road start justifying even the bad? I think this is living on the edge or playing with fire.
Sometimes we twist what the Bible says to make it say what we want it to say. The Bible even talks about this:
2 Peter 3:16 says: “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
The Pharisees did this as mentioned in Matthew 15 where they changed the meaning of the Law to suit their own purpose. Jesus scolded them for twisting what the Bible said. Twisting what the Bible says to justify sinful music is also wrong.
In conclusion, here are some questions we can ask regarding our music.
Does it bring glory to God, or does it glorify sin? Does it sound like worldly music and hurt our witness? Is it a stumbling block to other Christians? Would we have full confidence to listen to it if Jesus was with us? (He is if we are saved.) The Bible says at the end of Romans 14:23 …for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
The good news is there is wonderful Christian music, and we can have full faith that it honors God. It might take a while to get used to it, but we can develop a taste for it and even learn to love it. Then we can be praising God daily and throughout each day as we listen to it and sing it in our heads!