Good In, Good Out: The Power of Music

Music is a beautiful gift given to us by God. Since the first song was sung, music has given us an outlet for expressing our hearts, our emotions, and tell our stories. Just as with everything designed by God within our fallen world, good things can be used for evil. Before you stop reading, hear me out: this is not a call to burn all of your non-Christian CDs, records, and tapes (do people still listen to tapes?).

If you grew up in the world of church, you might be familiar with this popular Sunday School chorus:

 O be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little ears what you hear

For the Father up above is looking down in love

O be careful little ears what you hear

 Just in case you need a refresher…click here 

 As childish as this song might seem, these lyrics are critical instructions for us to live out in our Christian walk not only as children but in each and every day we have here on earth. 

 I had an eye-opening experience when I was in my early 20s. I’m not proud of what I did, but through this experience I learned a valuable life lesson that I am grateful for.

I was picking up my then teenage sister from school. While waiting for her in the car, I had the radio on. I can’t recall exactly what I was listening to, but I can tell you that the lyrics were definitely not promoting a lifestyle that glorified God.

As I listened while I waited, high school students started piling out of the building and I watched as they walked in front of my car. I noticed one student looked like he was going through that awkward stage of life that we all go through – where your mind is struggling to catch up with the changes your body is going through. He was very tall and his face was covered in acne. The first thought that crossed my mind was “Why doesn’t he get on some medication to take care of that?!” – I know, horrible.

 Soon after, I noticed a young lady who was wearing a strange outfit. I thought to myself “Seriously?! What is she thinking wearing that in public?”.

Shortly after these horribly judgmental moments, I saw a Chris Tomlin CD sitting in my car. I thought to myself, “I haven’t listened to that in a while!”, and decided to have a listen.

It was almost instantaneous that my mind and heart were softened. My eyes welled up with tears as I looked back at the young man thinking “I wonder if he gets picked on by the other boys” and I looked and the young lady and thought “I wonder what her home situation is like”. I didn’t know the answers to my questions, but instead of looking on these two people, created and equally loved by the God of the universe, with judgement of their outer appearance, my heart broke for them and the potential situations they were dealing with as young high school students. I began to see them the way that God saw them: through eyes of love and compassion. 

It was then that I realized just how much the music and media we take in can shape the perspective of our hearts and minds. If I am filling my mind with things that are not of God then my thoughts will not be focused on the things of God. If I am focusing my mind on the truth about God’s word and His love for everyone, then my heart should also reflect those things.

What are you allowing into your heart through the music you’re listening to? Maybe you feel you need to set some boundaries to guard your mind from things that are not of God. Our minds and hearts are powerful things, and it is our duty to protect them and surrender them to the things of God. 

Written by: Danielle Raycroft