Why I Listen to Christian Music:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16).
Music has always been an important part of my life. From the very first music cassette I ever bought when I was thirteen years old (the Footloose movie soundtrack) to this very day, I have and will always be a music lover. When I was in high school, I listened to everything from Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Aerosmith, to Phil Collins and Genesis. When I became a Christian, my friend Jerrold introduced me to a new genre of music – Christian Contemporary Music. I was surprised to discover that there was a whole world of musicians that I had never listened to before. There was literally a singer or group for every style of music that I listened to. The Christian equivalent of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard? A hard-hitting rock group called Petra. The Christian equivalent of the vocals-only music group I liked call the Nylons? Acappella. It was amazing – no matter what style of secular music that I liked, there was a Christian music group or singer that performed the same type of music.
When I first became a Christian, I realized pretty quickly that there were a lot of albums in my music collection that I shouldn’t be listening to. Many of them didn’t meet the standard that God set in His Word for what sort of things I should listen to. Philippians 4:8 says, “In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.” I reasoned that to mean if the music I was listening to wasn’t good, praiseworthy, true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable, then I shouldn’t be listening to it.
But let me tell you some other reasons why I stopped listening to certain kinds of secular music. You’ve heard the expression “GIGO” right? It stands for “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” You are what you eat. If you fill your mind with garbage – through the music you listen to (or the movies/TV shows you watch, too), then that’s what you’ll think about, and that’s what you’ll start acting like. Jesus put it this way, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45). That’s why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Some people would argue and say, “The music doesn’t affect me, I don’t even listen to the words, I just listen to it because I like the beat.” Whether you realize it or not, the message in the music IS getting into your heart on a subconscious level.
Now let me tell you some of the reasons why I listen to Christian music. First of all, that expression “GIGO” can also stand for “God In, God Out.” If you spend time listening to Christian music, then you’re going to be filling your mind and your heart with God’s Word. One of the reasons why I started learning the Bible so quickly when I first became a Christian was simply through listening to Word-based worship music – it’s the easiest way to memorize Scripture verses. When you listen to Christian music, you are meditating on God’s Word (Joshua 1:8) and renewing your mind to think the way God wants you to think (Romans 12:1-2). The best way to memorize anything is to set it to music. I could spend a whole devotional talking about the benefits of listening to praise and worship music, but you have the same benefits of the music described above, as well as the feelings of peace and joy that come from being drawn into God’s presence.
A final thought I want to leave you with. The biggest excuse I get for people not listening to Christian music is: “Christian music isn’t as good as secular music.” Now I’ll admit, back in the early days of the Christian music scene that may have been true, but today there are some incredible Christian singers, groups and musicians that are as good as, if not better than, than the secular musicians. So why don’t you give Christian music a try? You’ll never know what you’re missing until you do.
Feedback Request! To all of my readers… what kind of music do you listen to? Do you listen exclusively to Christian music, secular music, or a mixture of both?
Nowadays, I enjoy listening everything from Contemporary Christian music such as Steven Curtis Chapman and Toby Mac, and worship music such as Chris Tomlin, Hillsong Live, Kim Walker and Jesus Culture, to secular music such as Holly Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Cold Play and even a little country music from time to time…
Pastor Chris Jordan