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The Spiritual Impact of Music, Part II

This is part two of the Spiritual Impact of Music. Read part one first for the whole picture.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, – Ephesians 5:18-19

Have you ever noticed that being filled with the Holy Spirit is intimately linked with singing? Read it again if you must. But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing, making melody to the LORD with your heart. Does that make you a little uncomfortable? If it does, you’re not alone. In fact, I will tell you that it’s not entirely comfortable for me either.

Yes. I’m a worship pastor. Why in the world would this make me uncomfortable? I don’t know if I’ve ever said it in one of my blogs, but I am probably the least singing worship pastor that I know. I don’t spend a lot of my personal time singing. I hope you don’t think that my house is a like a musical, one song after another. I have a family of singers. Radene, my wife, sings. Both of my daughters are capable singers. We had a friend tell us, once upon a time, that she envisioned our family singing to each other across the dinner table. I hate to break it to you, but the von Trapps we are not. In fact, if you were to listen in to my rides to and from the office, or me while I’m at my desk, you’ll usually hear a podcast in the background. I love good preaching and teaching probably more than I love good music.

Unlike many worship pastors, I’m not a music guy. I don’t listen to music all day. I enjoy silence. I’m not really a concert guy either. I don’t hate concerts, in fact, I’ve enjoyed most of the ones I’ve attended. But there are precious few artists that I would fork over money to go see live. When we lived in Colorado, I attended a worship conference put on by the Colorado Baptist General Convention. I did not fit in. Many of those guys were singing just because there was a pause in the conversation. It felt like Christian Glee. (By the way, the conference was good.)  So, this verse makes me feel inadequate.

However, here it is on the pages of Scripture. And you know what? I find it to be true. I may not listen to music all day long as I work, but you know what? When I want to spend time with the LORD, music is always a part of it. In spite of everything I just told you, I find that my devotional time with the LORD doesn’t feel complete without music. Whether it’s something canned or something I play on my guitar, the music endears my heart to Jesus. It’s more than a part of my discipline. It’s a delight.

I don’t think Paul is saying that Spirit-filled people will always be musical people. I think it means that Spirit-filled people will delight in singing to Jesus. We make melody to the LORD with our hearts. It’s not a recitation of rotely memorized songs. You sing the words directly to the LORD for His honor and glory, engaging all of your heart, mind, and strength.

There’s one more aspect of this subject that I want to address.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8

Read that verse closely. Read it again. And again.

Now, think back over the last week. Think about all of the music you streamed. If you’re a musician, think about all the songs you played or sang. Think about the songs you sang at the top of your lungs in your car as you drove. Did they accomplish what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8? That’s a broad application of this verse because in all likelihood you might’ve listened to something that you think is praiseworthy or honorable, or true and it had nothing to do with Jesus.

Hear me. I’ve never been that guy who says never listen to secular music. And I’m not going to say it now. However, when a song like WAP can become number one for three consecutive weeks, it means we have a musical problem. Not all secular music is as vile, but there’s just so much of it. Explicit lyrics used to be found mainly in gangsta rap, but now it’s everywhere. Can you listen to vile content and honestly say that you’re honoring Philippians 4:8? Probably not. When I was in high school, I listened to hip-hop constantly. It created a vibe that I liked. It also created a corresponding attitude. To this day, when I listen to those old songs, I can feel both that vibe and attitude start knocking on the door, wanting back in.

What is that? It is a spirit, plain and simple. So I say that to say this, as I close. All music has a spiritual impact, no exceptions. I’m not saying that all secular music is empowered by demonic spirits. However, I am saying that some of it is. Pay attention to how music makes you feel and the attitude it creates. The Apostle, John, wrote that many antichrists have already come. Some of them went into the music business. If what you’re listening to creates feelings and attitudes that put you at odds with Scripture, you must cease and desist if you want to walk in the light.

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Last modified: January 15, 2023