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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
"The Christian and His Music"
"Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" Colossians 3:16
What kind of music should a Christian listen to? Is music amoral (not right or wrong), or just a matter of personal taste? Does the Bible give any direction on what type of music a Christian should be listening to?
These are great questions, and worthy of straight, biblical answers. As I attempt to answer these questions, I ask that you consider this subject with a submitted heart. Ask the Lord for understanding and for discernment in this area. We should be able to say with Paul, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" Colossians 1:18. Certainly this applies to the music a Christian listens to. Let's examine first of all the effects that music has on the listener. Most of us know little about music, but we all can testify to the influence it has on our lives.
The Physical Effect "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him" I Samuel 16:23.
David played for Saul and he felt better physically. The Hebrew word "ravah" is our word refreshed. It has the meaning of a physical refreshing. Saul literally felt better because of the music that was playing. It is no secret that music has a physical effect on us because we automatically want to move to the rhythm. Some music causes us to tap our toes, while other kinds start us marching. How does your music make your body move? Certainly there is nothing sinful in toe-tapping, and a march causes the extremities to move, which is not sensual. However, when the whole body is gyrating to the beat, then the music has become inappropriate. If the motions are fed by the flesh nature, then the music is wrong. Music should "refresh" the body and calm the senses, not excite them toward sin.
The Mental Effect
"So Saul was refreshed, and was well" I Samuel 16:23. The word for well is "tov," which refers to an emotional or mental state. David's skillful playing put Saul in the right frame of mind. His negative outlook changed, and Saul became calmed in his disturbed mind. Saul had a complete attitude change while listening to David play. I believe it was Plato who said, "Music is to the mind what air is to the body.” Music has been used to express things that are inexpressible in words. Think about how music is used in movies to create a sense of fear, or chaos, or even romance. Music holds a power of suggestion over the mind. Different forms of music create moods of inspiration, holy joyousness, to recklessness, and sensual passions. It doesn't take much discernment to know what kinds of moods are most appropriate for a Christian.
The Spiritual Effect "And the evil spirit departed from him" I Samuel 16:23. What David played "with his hand" caused a spiritual influence in Saul's life. Notice that there is no reference to David singing. So don't give me this line of, "Well, the lyrics are really honoring to God." The actual music David played had an effect on Saul spiritually. To put God's name on sensual music is to be deceitful. "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully" Jeremiah 48:10. God clearly speaks His mind about those who inject His name into a music that has sensual effects on the body and mind. It is deceitful at best. The Bible is filled with examples of spiritual victory set to music. The battle of Jericho was won with trumpets; Judah defeated Jeroboam with trumpets and singers; and Paul and Silas were delivered when they sang. These are only a few examples and you can search for yourself to find many more. Evil flees music that is good and Biblically correct. Also, the opposite is true. Evil spirits move in where sensual, carnal music is played. Put your music to the test.
"Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" Col. 3:16.