December 29, 2009

You Are What You Listen To (Part 2)

Written By Cary Schmidt

Music Influences Your Heart (Your Mind, Will, and Emotions)

Music, primarily harmonies, always communicates emotion. In many ways, music is emotion. This means it powerfully impacts your thoughts and decisions. You could say your music is the soundtrack of your life—it paints emotions, thoughts, meditations, moods, and ultimately helps determine the choices you make and the logic behind them.

Music is perhaps the most powerful external influence to who you are—how you think, how you feel, and who you become! In fact, the very word music comes from the root word muse which literally means “to be absorbed in thought…” That’s what music does, it absorbs our conscious and subconscious mind and directs those thoughts either in spiritual or unspiritual directions! Here are a few examples of God’s Word tying music to our heart, thoughts, and meditations:

Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Psalm 9:1, “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.”

Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”

Psalm 57:7, “ My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”

If you find that you often struggle with emotions, thought patterns and choices that are unspiritual or unbiblical, have you considered the influence your music is having upon this process?

The Bible commands in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The word keep means to protect in a good sense—to guard something very valuable! The word issues means the outgoings—the things that proceed forth—your emotions, your words, your decisions, and their consequences.

No matter what decision you make, from choosing lunch at a fast-food restaurant to how to treat your family, you always consult your heart—your mind, will, and emotions. And what you listen to powerfully influences that heart. Do you see the direct connection that music has to the rest of your life? The fact that music is so powerful over our hearts should compel us to make careful choices to listen to godly music.

Music Influences Your Spirit (Your Relationship with God)

Music, at its core, influences our spiritual lives and our relationship with God—either drawing us closer to the Lord, or quenching the Holy Spirit. God always desires our lives to be filled with and controlled by the power of His Holy Spirit:

Ephesians 5:18-19, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”

1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.”

Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

The biblical fact is this: the right kind of Spirit-led music can be an immensely powerful force that aids us in bringing our body and soul into submission to the leadership and control of the Holy Spirit of God. That is to say, it can feed and fan the flames of the work of the Holy Spirit within.

In summary, music provokes physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual responses that result in choices. Therefore spiritual music will contribute to spiritual responses, spiritual choices, and spiritual outcomes. To the contrary, fleshly music—that which accentuates rhythm or soul-ish lifestyles (emotion led), will diminish my ability to “walk in the Spirit.” Spiritual music will contribute to my walk with God and the Spirit-filled life.

Music impacts the totality of our being!

We’ve seen three compelling reasons to choose godly music. When you listen to music, you are giving a form of media a powerful influence over every part of your being—body, soul, and spirit. Scripturally, we are commanded to give that type of influence only to the Lord. Nothing else should control or have mastery over us in that way.

Simply put, God desires to have my music, because God desires to have all of me! Romans 6:16 teaches, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

The Christian life should be a quest for purity! It should be a Spirit-filled journey. But being Spirit-filled leaves no room for carnal choices or carnal influences. Your musical listening habits always have a direct correlation to your spiritual condition and direction in life.

May we listen to music that helps us lead Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, God-centered, God-glorifying lives. You really are what you listen to.