Music stirs the soul like few others things on earth can do. It stirs us to be better and it stirs us to be bad. When I was a teenager my church choir director gave me a poster I always cherished which said, “Those who sing pray twice.” Music is a gift to us from God who inspired King David to write such words as “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:1-2). There are 150 songs God inspired poets like King David to write, and we have been singing versions of those Psalms (Hebrew word for song) ever since.
Ask any minister about the worst church fight they have ever had to live through, and most of them will tell you that the fight was over music. Whether it was due to battles over music style, a clash between pastor and music leader, or any number of other sinful behaviors, church music fights are just another example of how we can take God’s wonderful gifts to us, and turn them into the worst curses.
At the heart of the reason Christians fight over music is the sin of arrogance. The Christian who is willing to drag their congregation into a church fight thinks such things as, “If I don’t hear the kind of music I like then it isn’t worship for me.” Notice how much thoughts like this are littered with the word “I”. Psalm 100 makes it clear that music is about God. It is not about us. When we are honest with ourselves we know that God loves all music equally that glorifies Him. When we focus on what we want and like best in music we have reduced ourselves to worship consumers. When we claim God likes the music we like best, and want to fight about it, then we are being very arrogant.
So why does God want us to let music glorify Him? Is God so vain that He makes His creatures sing to Him? What does God get out of our songs praising and glorifying Him? The answer to these questions can be found all through the Bible. A great place to find these answers is in the Book of Revelation, chapters 4 and 5. Throughout these chapters those in God’s throne room are always breaking into songs of praise. Revelation 4:8-11 tells us that the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders have the God-given blessing to spend eternity praising God every day and night.
When we remember that satan and all his demons were once angels, and it was their arrogance that led them to separate themselves from God, then we can deduce that it is not God who needs to hear His creation praise Him. The heavenly court praises God because they have to if they are going to remain faithful to God. It is us who need to be praising God, or we will be tempted to arrogantly think or act like we don’t need God, or at least as much as we think we do. When angels and humans praise God it focuses us on God, and we trust God more with our lives, and obey God more as we live to please, honor, and glorify the name of God. Music is at the core of our ability to praise God. It opens up our souls to God in ways nothing else can.
Many people have left the church because of music fights. If you are one of those you should ask God to forgive you, and get back into your church. God wants us to worship in a community of faith, His church. There are to be no “Lone Ranger” Christians (I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 1:21-23 to name a few). Most worship services last an hour or two. The rest of the week you can have personal worship, and listen to whatever music you want (e.g. John 4:19-26). As long as the music glorifies God then it is God’s favorite music.
Have you ever gotten angry at church about the music? Was it due to selfish arrogance or because the music didn’t honor God? Have you stopped worshipping Jesus with His body, which is the church, because of music? Is this God’s will for you? Have you got the right understanding of God’s gift of music, or has it become a curse in your life?
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