God gave us a body, but why? Have you ever asked yourself why you have a body? God didn’t give it to you to ignore it, to waste it, to abuse it, or to destroy it. He gave it to you for one reason and one reason only—to know His love in and through that body.
This means that each and every part of your body exists for that reason.
I have ears, and they are meant to hear.
If you are like me, then you have probably grown up listening to popular music. It’s catchy and fun and everyone knows it (and then it gets overplayed and we are furious whenever we hear it until about 3-5 years later, then we love it again). But, if our ears are meant to hear, and we are meant to know God’s love for us through what we hear, then we have to analyze if our ears are fulfilling their purpose.
Is the message of the song good? I mean truly and objectively good. Does the song help make you into the person that God made you to be?
“But Matt, why does it matter if the message is good? I only like the song for the melody or beats behind it. It just sounds good, so why shouldn’t I listen to it?”
I’m glad you asked!
God created sound, so sound in and of itself is not bad, evil, or sinful. Any song should sound good, and listening to those sounds are not bad. But what happens when we surround ourselves with sinful, bad, or even neutral messages in songs? Do you grow closer to God? Does it make you into a better human being, or does it at best leave you unchanged?
A Look at Our Music
For the longest time growing up, my parents hated the music that I listened to, which was mostly the stuff that was on the radio. (Is that like a hard and fast rule about parenting, that you must dislike your children’s musical taste?) Then I started listening to rap a bit more at the end of high school and into college (I still like G-Eazy and Chance the Rapper). My parents would always ask me, “Why do you listen to that crap?” I would say that I liked the beats and melody (plus, some of their verses are insanely intricate).
But then I would think about it. A lot of artists sing about being infatuated by one girl in one song, and then sing about the same sort of thing in another (I have to ask myself how long it takes for an artist to catch “the feels” for someone before they start to write a song about them). That isn’t love that they’re singing about! You can tell because there are two infatuation songs about different people on the same album.
Rappers always like to “spit” verses about drugs and alcohol and crazy parties and how rich they are. Is that an attractive lifestyle? Almost always, they follow it up with a song about how sad they are or there is a verse about how this lifestyle has its drawbacks (G-Eazy does it multiple times). They tell you that it isn’t worth it, that they are looking for something more.
If we don’t want to fill our heads with lyrics that can at best get us to status quo, then what do we fill our heads with instead?
Find music that will bring you closer to God. I know that the music that they play at most churches isn’t the most upbeat, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. Find artists who show Christ’s love through their tunes. I can guarantee that your favorite genre of music has multiple artists that you will enjoy if you just type “Christian” in front of it. (Even electronic, dubstep, country, rock, rap, screamo, and yodeling.)
I only did this within the past year of college, and it has transformed my life! I never listened to Christian bands, but then I went to SLS2016 (again, you should be at SEEK2017 with me, because it will be “lit”, as the cool kids say) and I went to the Matt Maher concert. It was one of the best experiences of my life! Not only was the music fantastic, but it was able to pray with it! Here’s what I’m talking about:
At Matt Maher’s concert, I was able to make music into prayer, and this discovery changed my music habits. I now listen to more Christian artists and regularly turn my day into impromptu prayer sessions. I encourage you to do this as well, because we all know that we should pray more, and if that prayer is guided by another person and causes you to sing, it’s probably going to be better prayer than we might normally have!
Prayer will always make you grow, whether you can tell or not. This means that if the music that you listen to helps you to pray, then that music also helps you to grow, which is exactly why God gave us ears!
P.S.—If you don’t know where to look for some great music, have no fear! Our very own Aly Aleigha oversees this other blog on our site called New Music Wednesdays where she shares some of her favorite artists and songs. She is also an extremely talented artist herself (check out her EP and be on the lookout for her new album in August).