Using Music in God’s Theater

[For your help and mine, I thought I should write about things I know from personal experience, so here goes: music.]

During college and after, I was a semi-professional (but mostly amateur) musician in a band, and I’ve always been a writer and lover of music.  So here’s my take on using music to worship God.  He made it, and it is for Him.  May Jesus be glorified as we:

  1. Listen to explicitly Christ-centered music. If you’re not listening regularly to songs that remind you of the Savior, you’re going to forget Him while you listen.  My heart tends to dry up when I forget to worship Him explicitly through music.  The Bible is replete with such commands, so don’t forget Him but remember Him in everything.
  2. Listen to beautiful music. Whether we might consider the artist “Christian” or secular, it’s important to listen to beautiful music.  The beauty in music reminds us of the ultimate, infinite beauty of God, of which we will sing forever.
  3. Listen to terrible music. Most of us can’t stomach much what we consider “bad” music, but even the occasional listen will help us remember the “good” stuff.
  4. Listen to happy music – This is the music that reminds us of the joy of the Lord Jesus that is meant to infect our hearts now.
  5. Listen to sad music – Yet our world isn’t all happiness; it isn’t even mostly happy.  Because of our rebellion against Christ, we are dead to the only true joy, knowing Him.  Sad music reminds us of the despair, depression, and deadness that comes from our faithlessness and idolatry toward God.  Don’t forget that this world isn’t all sunshine and kisses; it’s rainy days and graves, too.
  6. Listen to complex music – Complex music reminds us that our sovereign God is orchestrating a big, sovereign plan only an all-wise God could make beautiful.  We can hear this music as the soundtrack of His sovereign working throughout all time and into eternity and, more specifically, as an auditory representation of how the local church worships and works together in gorgeous harmony.
  7. Listen to simple music – If complex music is the 50-piece orchestra, simple music is the aging man strumming a guitar on the porch.  Both are beautiful, and simple music reminds us that even a lonely, longing song is heard by the God who turns His ear to the solitary, the needy, the destitute.
  8. Listen to quiet music – Sometimes the quietest, plainest music gets the message across most directly, and reminds us of the God who hears both the whisper and the . . . .
  9. Listen to loud music (maybe even with a strong beat) – . . . scream.  When I think of what the voices in heaven, all singing together to our King of hell-conquering, sin-smashing grace, will sound like, it’s not a whisper.  It’s more like the most beautiful, top-of-your-lungs scream you could ever imagine.
  10. Listen to nothing – Some people, like me, need to be reminded that we don’t always need to have something playing in the background.  In fact, many times we shouldn’t.  We need to remember solitude and silence, and this is that reminder.
  11. Listen for the gospel (and what’s not the gospel) – Finally, every song must finally stand or fall according to this test, does it communicate all of the gospel, part of it, or none of it?  What parts does it have, even unwittingly (in the case of many songs penned by unbelievers)?  What parts does it lack?  How would a fuller understanding of Christ make the message of this song even better?

Hope these are helpful for you and me.

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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