I have been on a secular music fast for the last couple of months, and it has been absolutely wonderful! I spontaneously got this idea on January first and decided to go with it – just to see how it would affect my mood. My plan was to only listen to Christian music as much as I could help it. (i.e. when I was able to pick the music. I recognize that it’s nearly impossible to get rid of all outside music, unless you never leave your house or use any form of media.)
During this fast, the Lord put some thoughts on my heart and I wanted to share them with you. So here we are. 🙂
There was a time when I listened to a whole lot of rap and questionable pop music. I knew I shouldn’t have been listening to it, because whenever a family member would walk in I’d turn it right down. But I argued with my conscience that “everyone else listened to it” or “so and so listens to it, and to be in with them, I should too”.
But the difference I noticed in my character when I was listening to tons of secular music compared to when I would come home from camp and listen to worship music for a couple weeks straight was night & day. I developed quite a potty mouth (only at school, so my parents don’t know this … sorry mom and dad), my strong aversions to drinking and sex and trouble were getting weaker. Slowly my mind was getting desensitized.
I don’t think we often realize how music affects us. We listen to so much of it everyday, whether on the radio, in our headphones, in our cars, as the background in whatever we watch. But the truth is – what you fill your mind with, is what you will become.
If you consistently listen to a particular type of music with a certain message, you train your mind to agree with the message presented. If I listen to country music about drinking and tailgate parties repetitively, why wouldn’t I want to participate in them? If I listen to music with suggestive lyrics, why wouldn’t it begin to threaten my purity? If I listen to angry rap, why wouldn’t it affect my emotions?
You might not agree with a songs lyrics, but still find it stuck in your head because it’s so catchy. Once it is there, you can’t separate the two. And is a clean track really clean? Just because the swears have been blurred, does it change the message that is being sent?
But this is not to say that ALL music labelled as Christian is good! A couple weeks ago I was showing my dad a very popular worship song, and he challenged me to dig deeper into the lyrics. Was I ever surprised to realize that what it was portraying was not entirely biblical! Since that night I’ve been extra cautious to discern what each line of different songs mean. Do they match up with what the Bible says? Or are they merely written to sound poetic, enticing, and beautiful?
As I spend more time listening to songs that praise my Saviour, it tunes my heart to naturally worship all throughout the day. There is a song constantly stuck in my mind. Constantly sung under my breath. Constantly hummed during day to day tasks. When we are filling our minds with what is of the Spirit, we become more and more like the Spirit. It is a beautiful process.
I challenge you to re-evaluate the music you listen to – is it putting you into a happy mood, or is it making you angry? Is it feeding your soul truth, or desensitizing you to the important matters? One of the biggest ways we can guard our hearts is to practice discernment when it comes to the music we choose to listen to.
A few weeks ago, I led a session at a youth retreat on Pursuing Holiness in a Media Saturated Culture. This is something that has really been placed on my heart and that I’ve been trying to consciously apply in my life. When I got the Church of God devotional for Lent and saw that it was also studying Holiness, I couldn’t help but laugh a little bit. The Lord always shows His hand in the smallest ways! It was really fitting that as I journey through what it means to pursue Holiness through the media I consume, the Lenten devotional for the year would also be about Holiness. I am excited to gain more and more wisdom about this topic over the next few weeks.
I wanted to compile the thoughts from the session I led at the retreat into a blog post, but it would have gotten really long – so I thought I would split it into a couple. So here is the first one, see you soon with the next!