“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-4 (NKJV)
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” Isaiah 14:11-14 (NKJV)
Music’s intended (and continued) purpose is to bring honor and glory to God. God created music as a way to express worship. Prior to his rebellion against God, Lucifer was responsible for the heavenly hosts whose primary job was to sing praises to the Most High. He has not forgotten the incredible, innate power of God-created music. Music reaches beyond our mind and heart and into the depths of our spirit. It expresses that which is often inexpressible and resonates with the eternal.
Music was meant to be a reflection of the glory and beauty of the Godhead. After God’s creation of man, music also became a portal through which we could enter into the very presence of God. It is for this reason that Satan is determined to corrupt music to reflect his perceived “glory.” Music can not be neutral, just as nothing else in the universe is neutral.
Music is as unique and varied as each person and culture. It is not my desire to discuss the merits of any of these varied musical styles. For the Christian, however, we have a specific standard by which we are to judge music (and everything else for that matter): does this focus our attention on God and bring glory to Him, or does it divert that focus, attention, and glory elsewhere?
If you do not already believe in the power of music to influence, pay close attention to the way music is used in every movie you have ever seen. Music sets the tone for each scene. A musical score can be used to portray danger, love, sadness, humor, anger, and a host of other emotions. No producer or director would consider a movie to be complete without the music that enhances it. Every soundtrack is a deliberate choice; each note, each musical phrase, each sound effect, adds to that film something which can not be accomplished any other way.
It is the inherent power of music that makes it essential for us to examine the music we listen to. Music can either bring us into light or into darkness. Satan is not ignorant of music’s power and he will use any and all means at his disposal to influence music for his purposes.
Until the past several years, I lived, at least to some degree, as if there were elements in our world that were basically neutral, such as music, mathematics, or science; that it was possible God had no part in certain aspects of life. Needless to say, this is a dangerous presupposition.
As I have mentioned previously, I did not grow up with a completely Biblical worldview. I was certainly aware that God was “in everything,” but for me and for most of the people I knew, life appeared to be lived on two somewhat parallel tracks. Even though Christianity impacted our daily lives, we lived them as if certain cultural and personal elements were “neutral.” The older I get, the more I begin to understand that there is no such thing as “neutral” anything in life. Every part of this universe either reflects life or it reflects death; it reflects God or it reflects the enemy of our souls. These are the only two options that God has given us. It is irrelevant that we wish it were otherwise.
We have a good friend who is closely connected with a missions organization in India. He is also a musician (an opera singer and a pianist). He can certainly tell you about the power of music, especially as it relates to missions. When they hold children’s Bible clubs in various villages in India, it is the Bible songs which the Holy Spirit uses time and time again to seal the truth of the Gospel in these children’s hearts. The power of God manifested through music helps drive out the demonic influences that are so prevalent in their culture.
One notable example of “death set to music” in our own culture is some of the rap music that is so popular today. I have no “beef” with rap music per se (even though I don’t particulary enjoy it), only with certain rap artists who fill the airwaves with songs on death, murder, rape, violence, and a host of other blatant moral sewage. There are plenty of examples in hard rock music as well the other musical genres. Most Christians would agree that this type of music is something to be avoided. However, so much of the music that we listen to doesn’t exactly take us to the moral high ground either.
Obviously, certain types of music are more blatant in their “dance with death” than others. It is in music where the darkness is more subtle, that we have to be most alert. With more subtle music, it is easy to ignore that vague sense of unease. Danger slips in the back door when we aren’t paying attention.
This is why it is so critically important to discern the spiritual impact of our music. Music has been, and always will be, a portal into the spiritual realm. We must guard our hearts by choosing carefully which spiritual realm our music takes us into.
Lest anyone think that I am promoting any particular style or type of music, I am not. Each one of us is unique. Music affects us in different ways depending on our personality, our mood, our experiences, and our level of spiritual maturity. All I am advocating here is that we take a closer look at the music we do listen to. We need to ask ourselves this question: does this music bring me into a place of peace, joy, quiet, meditation, and worship or does it take me into darkness, isolation, depression, discouragement, and into thoughts and behavior that are detrimental?
I have listened to many so-called “secular” pieces of music that have brought me into worship just as effectively as music that was considered “sacred.” Our musical selections can not be made based merely on a certain type or style. We need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this area, as much as we do in every other area of our life, and make our choices accordingly. Because God has chosen to manifest Himself through music, we must ask ourselves: If our music isn’t reflecting the glory of God, then whose glory is it reflecting?
Puts a whole different emphasis on what music we choose, doesn’t it?
“And the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets— indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:12-14 (NKJV)
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
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