We take it for granted that music is a big part of our everyday lives. Music comes at us from radios, mp3 players, CDs, and in practically every public place. Music awards programs abound; American Idol seeks to raise music to a kind of national hysteria; advertizing rides the currents of pop music into the hearts and hopes of prospective buyers. Boethius, the greatest Christian scholar of the 5th century, wrote, "Music is part of our human nature; it has the power either to improve or debase our character." Probably most of us agree with this. But how do we recognize which music does what? What about our own tastes in music, the music to which we listen? How does it affect us? Why do we prefer this music over another kind? Should we choose our music simply on the basis of what we "like" or should more thoughtful considerations guide our choices? We don't really think much about music and its effects; but music can convey a worldview - whether one that is uplifting, complex, and filled with intellectual challenges and delights, or one that is degrading, demeaning, violent, and destructive. Or even one that is merely apathetic to noble causes and promotes a life of self-indulgence and sensuality. The worldview inherent in the music we listen to finds its way into our souls and makes an impression there, whether or not we intend for this to happen. What is music doing in your soul? If it's possible to use music to "improve" our character, it seems to me we should make our choices in music with that as our objective. Sweet music fills the backdrop of the heavenly court of our Lord Jesus Christ, and makes Him glad (Ps. 45.8). Does the music we listen to - or the music we sing in church, for that matter - make the Lord glad? How can we know?
T. M. Moore
Music to our Souls
- Psalm 137:4-6 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?
- Psalm 137:1-3 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
- Psalm 119:41-42 Let Your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your promise;
- Psalm 136:23-26 It is He who remembered us in our low estate, for His steadfast love endures forever;
- Psalm 136:10-22 to Him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for His steadfast love endures forever;