Have you ever had it where you were in a dark mood, and within a matter of moments your gloomy thoughts were extinguished as a sunny tune filled the air? How about when you were in a sunny mood, and a slow sad melody was played, and quickly melancholy took over? We have all have had these kinds of feelings to one extent or another. Music has a major effect on us. Each song is put to a tune to portray the emotions it intends to raise within a person when sung. God has created us to be an emotional people who show passion through the songs that we sing. He has called us to sing and make melody in our hearts to praise his most holy name. We are given the gift of music to glorify and extol our great and glorious God.
But the devil is sly. Don’t ever underestimate him. He constantly seeks to twist our emotions away from our calling by cunningly using this good gift of God and twisting it so that it becomes a perversion of what is good. Our own human natures help him along in this perversion. Many tunes are very pleasing to the ear, and thus we pay no mind to the words. We hear songs on the radio with lyrics that would burn our faces with shame and embarrassment if they were simply spoken to us by another person. But put to a catchy tune, we often find ourselves humming along. The words of that song soon follow along and are quickly imbedded within our minds. The devil now has this corruption right where he wants it. It is only a matter of time before we find ourselves singing along with the world who hates the God we are called to praise.
Scripture tells us that what comes out of our mouths represents what is in our hearts. NEVER forget that. What we thought was just a harmless catchy tune to hum along with becomes a song that we sing and has become a sin within our hearts. The devil laughs as our human natures latch hold. He now has a foothold within our hearts, and we all know that once a door is opened to the devil, he as a roaring lion will pounce, seeking to devour us. What started as a simple catchy tune now fills our minds with corruption. Evil thoughts grow deeper as we allow ourselves to wallow in this sin. This happens with every sin we fall into. When we permit Satan to open a door to our hearts, and do not turn from the sin, he will push us away from our Lord God who has saved us. Satan is filled with glee as we turn our attention from heavenly praise and instead praise and extol man and his sinful lusts of the flesh. So quickly we are turned away from God and ensnared within the hold of sin from which we have been freed.
Young people, let us not give the glory of our great God whose name is to be extoled above all to sinful man and his lustful, prideful self. This is exactly what we do when we find ourselves singing along with the worldly songs of today. Thus we displease the God who has saved us that we might praise and extol his name in adoration. When we sing worldly songs we give the devil access to our hearts where the Lord Jesus Christ dwells by his Spirit. The more access we give the devil, the softer comes the voice of Christ’s Spirit, until we no longer even feel the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ within us. You may think I am taking this too far, but read Ephesians 5:19. Then read the verse before. Notice how being filled with the Spirit is directly connected with speaking to ourselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and singing and making melody in our hearts before the Lord. If we are speaking in worldly language, and singing the songs of man and his lusts, we will be doing the exact opposite of being filled with the Spirit and will in turn silence him.
We often tend to excuse ourselves and say that it is just a catchy tune and the words aren’t really that bad, or just because we sing along with a song or two it won’t lead us away from Christ. Yes, it will! We may not feel it at first, but it is always those first steps that when they aren’t repented of, lead to a deeper falling away and departing from the Lord who has saved us. When we listen to and sing those songs of the world, they will have a negative effect, and as we continue to sing them, we will lose our focus on heaven where God dwells, and our hearts will be filled with carnal, earthly thoughts.
Scripture tells us in Psalm 34:14, “Depart from evil and do good.” This includes in the area of what we listen to and sing. What are some very practical ways we can do this? From the negative, first of all, we must get rid of those worldly songs. I challenge all of us to throw out those worldly CDs, delete those songs off of our iPods, and take off the worldly albums created on Pandora Radio and such similar websites. We must turn off the radio stations that spew forth the lusts of the flesh and must change our presets. There is no better time to do so than the present. This is the point where it pricks us to acknowledge that we do listen to corrupting music and need to change. Satan would have us laugh here and minimize the evil of having worldly songs in our lives. He would have us think that we can do this later when we mature more. No, we must never have that attitude with sinful addictions in our lives. We must not delay to depart from evil but must do so right away. Also, we may not do a partial job and figure that is good enough. No, when we are told to depart from evil we must fully turn away!
In departing from evil, we must not forget that scripture tells us to do good. From the positive aspect, we must take heed to the command of Ephesians 5:18b and 19: “Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”. Once the evil songs are removed we must fill that void with holy songs. We must be selective even here, because the tendency is to enjoy the secular Christian music, most of which is watered down praises that speak mostly of man and his experience rather than doing justice to extolling the name of our great and glorious God. We must be jealous for the glory of our great God. We look for songs fitting for the ears of our Lord God, which properly extol him in all his greatness. There are many CDs put out each year by our own Protestant Reformed Churches that are very fitting. There are CDs of Psalm Choir, Hope Heralds, CCHS choirs, and the list goes on. We must dare buy them, to play them in the midst of peer pressure that tells us to conform to the ways of the world, and even when our fellow brothers and sisters wrongly mock us for our “pious songs”, we must not be ashamed. Rather we count it a privilege to sing these precious songs of our Redeemer.
As we remove the filthy songs of this world, and fill our ears with the blessed songs of Zion, we will start to hum them, making melodies in our hearts. These melodies in our hearts will direct our thoughts to the treasures of heaven; and we will break forth in songs that witness of hearts filled with the Spirit of God, full of adoration for our great and glorious God.
*Monica serves on the Beacon Lights staff and is a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Walker, MI.