Sometimes it’s funny, the things we do (or don’t do) as we grow in Christ. For example, I can remember growing up that I was told it was a sin to listen to any music that was not “Christian Music”. This was before I learned anything about critical thinking, or what the Bible teaches…and so my teenage years were spent with some very obscure yet “Christian” artists. Yep, I didn’t know who this guy Dave Matthews was or what was so awesome about his band. Friends were shocked that I didn’t know Weezer, Green Day, the Foo Fighters, etc, etc…
It wasn’t until bible college that my ears were opened to what the rest of the world had known for years. That’s right I started to listen to secular music! Praise Jesus! I listened to all kinds of stuff too, I had a lot to catch up on. Really nothing was off limits to me. And if I ever started to feel convicted about certain lyrics, or get confronted about the sinful lifestyle of the bands, I would just remind myself about Paul writing how we are covered in Christ blood and that “all things are permissible”. Most days though I thought of myself as superior to those puritans who didn’t delve into all that the Black Eyed Peas (and others) had to offer. I had advanced beyond their limited musical palate.
Many years later, another change happened. I spent some time actually reading what Paul wrote (and not just paraphrasing in in my mind).
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. (1 Corinthians 10:23, ESV)
It also hit me that many (but not all) of the lyrics I was singing along with were actually really…lame. The content was almost always the same, but with just a different beat. Nothing to really think about or appreciate, and often out of line with my worldview.
Listening to music is never sinful, but is not always a benefit. In my case music just made me arrogant and prideful. It was part of my identity, and shamefully I unknowingly allowed it to make me feel superior to others around me. God convicted and changed me.
Today I listen to lots of music. The raunchy crap doesn’t interest me any more. At the same time someone does not have to be a Christian for me to appreciate their work. Most often though it’s the legit Christian musicians (Lecrae, For Today, Staple, etc…) that I resonate most with. Often we are just looking for a good beat, lets remember to be aware of the subtleties of whats happening in our hearts and minds at the same time.