What Is Christian Music? Part 1

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What Is Christian Music? Part 1

Colossians 3:16

“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.”

Many people will say that Christian Music is one or more of the following responses: 

These responses are the answers from an article on got questions.org

– The song lyrics must reflect biblical truth.
– The song lyrics must directly praise God/Jesus.
– The song must mention God/Jesus.
– The song must be written for Christians and not as an evangelical tool.
– The lyrics must directly address God, not other people.
– The song must be completely new, not a cover of a secular song.
– The song is designed to be played in church, not outside of church.
– The melody must be paramount, and the rhythm subdued.
– The song must be written and performed by mature Christians only.
– The men & women who sing the song must live what it is they sing about.

This week we will address each of these individual ideas.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this devotional is not to tell you what type of music to listen to nor is it to tell you that your selections or choices are wrong. It is designed to give you a measuring stick to measure your loyalty and obedience to God’s Word. The choice is up to you. Your walk with the Lord will only be as strong as the music you allow to penetrate the channels of your mind. Trash in, trash out; God in, God will come out.

1. The Song Lyrics Must Reflect Biblical Truth

Notice that our text today tell us to let the “Word” of Christ dwell in your richly in all wisdom. This is the very first thing that the song should showcase. The words of the song are more important than the music of the song. Don’t believe me? Have you ever heard an instrumental of a song, that you knew, and said to yourself? What is the name of this song? Where do I know this song from? How sings this song? Or Better yet, what are the words to this song? Do you find yourself humming the melody in a desperate attempt to figure it out but to no avail?

You may ask why that is and it’s because your brains are seeking substance to grasp on to during the song. 

Listening to the background music pacifies the soul but interpreting the lyrics, on top of the music, engages the mind and heart. So music in it’s completeness: soothes and stirs our emotions. 

Additionally, this reminds us that our music must reflect Biblical Truth. There are many artists that sing on their thoughts about God instead of what His Word says. The bible tells us in Romans 11:33 “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” All too often song writers will base their spiritual songs on some emotional experience instead of bible. Here are some questions to ask about your music in their area:

  1. Can I find the idea of this song in the bible?
  2. What scriptural reference would I assign to this idea of this song?
  3. Is this song just emotional entertainment or is it scriptural singing?

The bible is our final authority and The Believer’s life must reflect what he/she professes to believe. 

2. The Song Lyrics Must Directly Praise God/Jesus.

This is a very tough one. Spending over 20 years of my life performing for people professionally, I have noticed that the music industry is one of ups and downs. Additionally, the reason for the ups and down lies upon the personal ego of the artist. In the old hymns we see that the standard format they followed were as follows:

1st Stanza – Spoke about the change in the singer. This was usually from good to bad.

2nd Stanza – Spoke about their love and respect for God and the Godhead. 

3rd Stanza – The 3rd or last stanza spoke about the return of Jesus or God fixing wrong.

These hymns spoke “I” only when they talked about how God did something in their lives. Most Christian music today, uses “I” and “Me” more than is said at a kindergarten recess. We usually mimmic the behaviors and patterns set from what we see, hear and perceive. Could it be that American Christians have become increasingly selfish because of the increasing number of selfish songs that proclaim Christian music in the genre?

Below are two songs that validate this point:

How Great Thou Art

1st Stanza (Speaks about a change or a realization of how good God is) 

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Chorus (Praising God and speaks of How others should Praise God)

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

2nd & 3rd Stanzas (Talk About God & Jesus)

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Place In This World – By Micheal W. Smith

1st Verse or Stanza – Notice the use of I not relating to coming to God or praising Him.

The wind is moving
But I am standing still
A life of pages
Waiting to be filled

2nd  Verse or Stanza – Notice God is not mentioned nor is there anything about Him. It’s about self.

A heart that’s hopeful
A head that’s full of dreams
But this becoming
Is harder than it seems

Chorus & Hook – Notice that the artist related to themselves at least 5 times in the song and not one direct mention about God. This song is very ambiguous and the light, spoken of could be a torch from another human. 

Feels like I’m
Looking for a reason
Roamin’ through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world

Music is important and can change the whole entire aspect of a person’s worship experience from Spiritual to Emotional. We will cover more about the subject of music in tomorrow’s devotional. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie. 

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