Behind the Music
Music is an incredibly powerful force. Music allows us to express emotions that we can't express with words and is highly spiritual in nature. Lately, I have been fascinated by the power that music has over us. We will embrace just about any message if it is wrapped in a good beat. It's crazy! I am a 90's girl at heart and there are certain songs that I sang along to for years and have just now discovered the meaning of. How many of you remember the song "Sonny Came Home?" It is about a girl who burns down the whole dang town to "make a few small repairs." Creepy! "Semi-charmed Kind of Life" is all about taking drugs. They reference Crystal Meth right in the song. Both songs sound so upbeat! A friend of mine and I were talking about how one day she found herself jamming out to what seemed like another upbeat song, when suddenly she realized the refrain was "Slip the noose around your neck." Whoa! Too much. How about that girl power anthem by Alicia Keys "Girl on Fire," when Nicki Minaj jumps in singing "The Spirit of Marilyn...telling me to come with her, underneath the comforter and she brought a gun with her." Why do we accept these things as so normal? What if these words weren't set to music, but were said to you in a conversation? Would your reaction change to one of alarm and concern?
This past Sunday, we had the superbowl. Katy Perry performed and there was a surprise performance by Missy Elliott. Missy began singing her "Work It " song, a song replete with vile and pornographic sexual imagery. But the song has a sick beat. I am convinced most people never actually stop to pay attention to what songs are really saying. We have become so desensitized to what the Bible clearly calls wickedness and sin that we don't even blink an eye.
Music not only reflects our culture, but it also assists in shaping our culture, especially when it comes to children and youth. We don't think anything of it when the songs we listen to are filled with references to drugs, violence, sexual perversion and degradation of women, but we get all bent out of shape when the people around us begin to exemplify those same values.
Music was created by God as a means for us to express our worship and adoration of Him. Along the way, people began to use music as pure entertainment. I will admit that I do not listen to Christian music exclusively. However, what I am beginning to notice is that some of this "entertainment" is actually slipping into the realm of worship...the worship of darkness. Much of the music that is being played puts sin on a pedestal and glorifies disobedience to God. Gradually overtime, sin and perversion has become the new norm.
Whether we are promoting darkness or light, our worship is doing warfare.
In 2 Chronicles chapter 20, we find the story of Jehoshaphat when he goes to battle against the Moabites and the Ammonites. As they go out to battle, Jehoshaphat appoints men to sing praises at the head of the army. As they begin to worship, an incredible thing happens. The army that was coming against them destroys one another. When Jehoshaphat's army finally arrives at the place that overlooks the desert, they see a vast army that has been utterly defeated. Their worship defeated the enemy.
My fear is that much of the music we mindlessly listen to actually empowers and advances the causes of the enemy. My fear is that as we continue to glorify sin and disobedience to God through our entertainment choices that a generation of young people is being destroyed right before our eyes.
My point in all of this is that we can't be mindless consumers. Although all of this may be the forced new "normal" that has subtly pushed it's way into our society, it simply cannot be our normal. I am challenging myself to rethink what I accept as normal and to push myself to view the world around me through the eyes of Jesus. I am challenging myself to use my choices and my voice to amplify His message of love, hope and grace, in a world full of brokenness, sin and hate.
"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out." Romans 12:2 MSG