Do you use music? Or does music use you?

Most popular lyrics in hit singles in 2008, UKJenna and I were eating out last night when she noted that, at this particular Arby’s, I always sing the songs. They’re the secular songs from an earlier era before I switched to Contemporary Christian music. They’re embedded in my memory.

I don’t even have to think about them. They just come out of my mouth.

So I need to be careful.

As Prince and I sang When Doves Cry in between bites of roast beef, my mind went back to how many times I listened to his Purple Rain album and Morris Day and the Time. And how many times I watched the movie Purple Rain. [Disclaimer: Not a good movie. Do not watch it.]

But it was the music. The music drew me in.

And it kept me there to say things I didn’t mean. Over and over.

I don’t want to do that.
I don’t want music to use me that way.

I’m thankful now that I can keep my radio tuned to Christian stations where the odds are significantly higher that I can sing Truth.

And I’m very thankful that I can sing songs with my church that echo Biblical truths and are often direct quotes from Scripture itself.

Lyrics DO matter.

A catchy rhythm is NOT enough.
Both heart and head need to be in tune if I’m going to glorify God.

The more I know about the Lord, the more I want Him to be the subject of my songs. And the more He fills me when I praise Him, the more I want to learn about Him.

Mind and heart belong together. Strong, passionate desires for God flow from and encourage the faithful, thoughtful study of God—his nature, character, and works.

We’re deceived when we think we can have one without the other. God intends us to have both.

If our doctrine is accurate but our hearts are cold toward God himself, our corporate worship will be true but lifeless.

Or if we express fervent love for God but present vague, inaccurate, or incomplete ideas of him to those we’re leading, our worship will be emotional but misleading—and possibly idolatrous.

Neither option brings God glory. 

~ Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters
               Chapter 3: MY MIND: WHAT DO I BELIEVE?

Instead of singing things that make no sense to me or, even worse, are blatantly false about my reality in Christ’s kingdom, like:

Touch if you will my stomach
Feel how it trembles inside
You've got the butterflies all tied up
Don't make me chase you
Even doves have pride

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world so cold? 
Maybe I'm just too demanding 
Maybe I'm just like my father too bold 
Maybe you're just like my mother
She's never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry

~ Prince
from When Doves Cry

I want to sing God-honoring truth:

He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

All our hope is in You
All our hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world

~ Chris Tomlin
from Jesus Messiah

I don’t want music to use me.
I want to use music...
to please Him.

Sing what you mean and mean what you sing.

* * *

How often do you consider what lyrics come out of your mouth?

What helps you stay focused on the words?

11 comments:

Brenda said...

I'm going to use some of your thoughts here to talk to my kids because ever since they have gone to public school, they have become familiar with secular music and I will occasionally let them have it on in the car- and when I really listen to the lyrics, I usually end up turning it off. Some of it is just horrible and I know they aren't even thinking about what they are singing along to because I've done that so much myself. But I hate that those horrible thoughts are getting into their hearts because the "beat is good". Music is very powerful.

A Mom After God's Own Heart said...

Thank you so much for your words. I am a mom of two young children, and both my husband and I love the old 80's music and some of the newer stuff, but we also play mostly CCM music - this is just a wonderful reminder of the impact that music has on a person and just how impressionable we are. I hear my daughter sing to commericals on tv and can't believe how easily she picks up the music. In recent months we have become much more aware of what music we are listening to and allowing the children to hear.

Audrey said...

This is so true!!! I find that listening to Christ centered Christian music is a great way to keep my mind on things that are pleasing to God. Great post!

Lisa notes... said...

I think we're often most aware of what's coming out of our own mouths when we hear it also coming out of our children's mouths.

I bet God wishes that we as his children would more often say the things that come out of HIS mouth!

It's hard to sift through so many obstacles with music--there are good secular songs out there and there are some bad "Christian" songs, too. Discernment is the key. And it's the work we have to do... Thankfully he doesn't leave us to do it alone.

Thanks, Brenda and "A Mom" for standing up for what is right for your kids and for God's glory.

Audrey--I know what you mean. Listening to Christ-centered music sometimes makes the difference between me doing the right thing or going down a wrong path, especially with my attitudes.

Kathleen said...

Lisa,
I agree with your thoughts on music. I like how you put it...is it using you or are you using music?

Also, I wanted you to know that I copied your verbage for your comments form below! I have people say they come & visit but couldn't comment! And I wanted them to know how. So I hope that was okay!

Lisa notes... said...

Kathleen,
Of course that's fine with me. I hope the wording will help your commenters.

Dianna said...

Lisa, I am SO glad that the Lord put it on my heart to post "In the Midst" and that you found it when you needed it. Isn't He so wonderful that way? A few weeks ago I was having a very hard time with an issue...worrying over it until I was depressed. I mentioned it to a dear friend from where we used to live when she called one day. In about a week the Lord provided that poem for me on the card that my friend sent to me in the mail. At that very moment I needed to hear that Jesus was in the midst of this issue with me...not standing on the sidelines. It had such an impact on me that I actually framed the card and it hangs on the wall beside the mirror in our bedroom. As I prepare to face the day, I'm reminded that He is in the midst of my day before I even make it to my Bible. Praying for you, Lisa.

Brenda said...

Thought I'd stop back and say that last night Sarah and I were in the car together and a song came on, she was singing along a bit and truthfully, I couldn't understand the lyrics (ha ha)... but I was JUST ABOUT to launch into the shpeel I had prepared after reading your post when she said, "This song is bad" and reached up and switched the station herself! Woo hoo! That meant she was actually listening to what she was singing! I was so proud!

Lisa notes... said...

I am proud of Sarah, too! That's what you've trained her to do - turn away from temptation on her own. It's a hard thing to do at ANY age; glad she's having success. God is good.

Lisa notes... said...

Dianna,
Actually, I think I should do what you did and set the poem in a prominent place where I can be reminded more frequently of the great love Jesus has for us in staying with us in our tough times. I'll be back over to copy and print the poem...
Blessings to you.

Lisa notes... said...

I just had an even better idea - I printed two copies. :-) One to keep and one to tape in the front of a visitor's journal that we're keeping in my mom's room. My sister wrote a beautiful heart-felt prayer to Jesus in it the other day that moved me to tears.

Well, this poem seems to touch on answers to questions she was asking. So I will tape it in the journal for her to stumble across unexpectedly as I stumbled across her letter. I love how God works!

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