Some time ago, I wrote about prophetic music and singing, and I mentioned that music is meant to not only stir the emotions, but also to impact the spiritual realm.
That’s where today’s article comes in. Today I’m going to share with you a biblical story, some modern-day evidence, and a warning to help you in your Christian walk.
Let’s start by seeing what the Bible has to say:
1 Samuel 16:14-16 and 23–Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.
Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better.” …Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. (NIV – *see footnote at end of article)
David’s musical skills became a weapon of spiritual warfare! He wasn’t even singing words that commanded the spirit to leave. David simply played the harp, and the demon would go!
I’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as “Christian music” only “Christian lyrics.” The person saying this was trying to make the point that good music is just good music. According to this argument, instrumental arrangements (like classical music, relaxation music, and the like), which have no lyrics, are spiritually neutral.
But if that’s true, what do we do with David’s harp playing? Okay–I know David was a Jew and there wasn’t yet any such thing as a Christian, so it wasn’t “Christian” music; but that doesn’t change the fact that David’s instrumental harp music caused an evil spirit to leave!
And for that matter, there are tribes in Africa that use dancing and drum playing to summon evil spirits to do their bidding. Many missionaries have attested to the reality of these dark spiritual forces and how they really do come at the beckoning of the drums. Would you call that music “spiritually neutral” even though there aren’t any lyrics?
The spiritual value of music has a lot to do with the purpose behind it. Songs with lyrics are easier to figure out. For instance, Christian lyrics tend to either glorify God, prophesy, encourage, uplift, share the Gospel, wage spiritual warfare, or be a prayer. Clearly, we would call all these things “good!” On the other side is what we would call “secular” music, which often has a purpose of mere entertainment.
But entertainment is just the surface-level purpose. We have to read deeper into what the enemy might be accomplishing through that music. Remember, mere instrumentals can be used to either calm evil spirits or conjure them up. So the songs meant to entertain may actually be opening doors for depression, bitterness, envy, greed, sensuality, drunkennes, lust, rage, promiscuity, jealousy, and more. Even secular songs with supposedly “good” lyrics can stir up sinful desires.
Armed with this knowledge, I want you to examine the music you feed yourself on. What’s your favorite CD? Radio station? Recording artist? What do you play on your stereo or computer when you’re having a party at your house? What’s on your iPod? If your write music, what’s it about? If it’s instrumental, what are your trying to express?
Really think about this.
What is the spiritual value of that music? Take a prayerful audit of all the music you listen to on a regular basis. Does it serve the purposes of God? Or does it serve the purposes of the flesh, the world, and/or the devil? Does it encourage you in your faith? Or does it encourage you toward the things of this world? Does it draw you closer to God? Or does it distract you from a prayerful mindset?
You have the free will to choose what you listen to. Why waste your time on music that accomplishes the opposite of your mission as a Christian?
Ephesians 5:15-20–Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)