I have recently been asked what I thought on the music question, by more than one person. I have to admit, although I was able to give some answers, I did not have the answers to give, that I knew I should have! I have been putting off this study for way too long, so I thought I would share it with you.
First of all, I should give you a little history about myself. When I was quite young, our family was still 'heathen'. We believed in God, but you might say we didn't really feel that we had a lot of responsibility to Him. In the line of music, well, it wasn't good. We didn't know any better, but now that we do, I know for myself, that I may be more sensitive to more upbeat styles, as I can see the similarities to the kind of music we listened to, which was usually rock. So, I will start by talking about types of music that would seem to be wrong, and then music that glorifies God.
So, what kind of music is morally wrong for Christians to listen to? There has to be principles to it, that would be a guide for all kinds of music, right? Well, I will try to line some of them out here. Here is one. It is found in '1T 505.2' “Music is the idol which many professed Sabbathkeeping Christians worship. Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth. Anything will suit his purpose that will divert the mind from God and engage the time which should be devoted to His service. He works through the means which will exert the strongest influence to hold the largest numbers in a pleasing infatuation, while they are paralyzed by his power.” Here, we see that music can be both infatuating, as well as an idol. Here is another principle. It is from '1T 509.2' “No one who has an indwelling Saviour will dishonor Him before others by producing strains from a musical instrument which call the mind from God and heaven to light and trifling things.” Here is an interesting thought! Does the music we are listening to draw our minds truly to God, or away from Him? I mean, we have to be honest with ourselves. Is the music/songs we are listening to really drawing our minds to Christ, or do we just like the music? Do we listen to it to make us feel good, or to praise God? Another principle is found in 'PP 594.2' “Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted! How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to Glorify God!” I think this is a very important principle. Is the song artist trying to glorify God, or themselves? You might ask, how do we know this? Well, you cannot judge the heart of the singer/performer, but you can take a look at the fruit. See if this quote helps. It is from '2SM 23.3' “Let there be no theatrical display, for this will not help to strengthen belief in the Word of God. Rather, it will divert attention to the human instrument.”--Letter 352, 1908. That is a good way to tell. Is the nature of the song to draw attention to the talents of the performer, or to his/her God? This is a question I believe we should each ask ourselves. One more principle. 1 John 2:15; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
James 4:4 “...Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?”
This is another big principle. Do the songs we listen to sound like the world? If the words were taken away, would you be able to tell that the song was intended to glorify God? You should be able to tell. If the music we are listening to is so much like the world that it sounds like it, to the undiscerning ear, it may not be safe.
In all of it, we must spend much time in prayer, asking God what He would have us listen to. He will not leave us without the tools to know what that is, if we seek to know. We have to be so careful, because we have been warned that this is one of Satan's greatest temptations, especially for the young.
Now, we will take a look at how music can be a blessing! Our first quote is from 'Ev 512.1'; ”Music is acceptable to God only when the heart is sanctified and made soft and holy by its facilities.” Our music will please God, and be acceptable in His sight, when it sanctifies hearts.
Also see this quote, from 'PP 594.2' “Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God.” Here is an interesting quote. It is from '510.5'; “Great improvement can be made in singing. Some think that the louder they sing the more music they make; but noise is not music. Good singing is like the music of the birds--subdued and melodious.
In some of our churches I have heard solos that were altogether unsuitable for the service of the Lord's house. The long-drawn-out notes and the peculiar sounds common in operatic singing are not pleasing to the angels. They delight to hear the simple songs of praise sung in a natural tone. The songs in which every word is uttered clearly, in a musical tone, are the songs that they join us in singing. They take up the refrain that is sung from the heart with the spirit and the understanding.”--Manuscript 91, 1903. Wow! Angels will sing with us, if we are singing in simple praise to our Father! What a thought! Here is some more counsel on music. It is from 'Ed 167.3'; “The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul.” That description of music sounds so refreshing! The next quote talks about the kind of music I can't wait to hear! It is from '1T 123.' “I saw the beauty of heaven. I heard the angels sing their rapturous songs, ascribing praise, honor, and glory to Jesus. I could then realize something of the wondrous love of the Son of God.”What an honor it will be to sing with the Angels in Heaven! You know, we can have a part in that now though. It is my hope and prayer that we will all strive to have the music we make and listen to be an honor to God. I would also love to hear your thoughts on music! Feel free to comment here.
May we all live for Him, each moment of each day!
Your brother in Christ,