Music has power. It controls what you think about and how you feel. Music can make you forget everything or remember everything. It can make you feel less pain, time pass faster, and your workouts stronger. But music doesn’t just change our mood; it changes the way we think and our perception of the world.
French poet, novelist, and dramatist Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Because of this, it makes sense that we often find our identity in our music. Someone on Whisper once shared, “The key to a woman’s heart is hidden in her playlist.” My dad will tell you that you can easily assess someone’s character by merely looking at (1) who they seek to spend time with, (2) what they read, (3) what they watch, and (4) what they listen to. You are what you listen to.
Because most of our world has not come to find the beauty of silence, any moment possible is often filled with music. We shuffle our jams when the day is going how we’d like or seek out that one song to nurse the throbbing of our heart. Music is there with us in our joy and a close companion in times of sorrow, so how is it guiding your thoughts?
My tendency is to shuffle songs celebrating friendship when I’ve had an especially good time with my people…rather than listen to music that reminds me that every good thing is a gift from above and lead me to praise my God for the abundance of His goodness, love, mercy, and grace. When nostalgia (which literally means “pain from an old wound”) has made a key appearance in my day, I reach for songs about lost love before my “Continual Surrender” playlist to help turn my eyes away from the waves and re-focus them on Jesus, my first Love and forever Friend. While friends are a good thing, and it is necessary to let your feelings out every once in a while, there came a point when I was sick and tired of always being in a slump because I was listening to songs that sympathized with my feelings.
Music is not supposed to tell you what you want to hear. Music is meant to express what you and others need to hear.
Music is a gift from God and intended to glorify Him. There are cries on this subject all throughout Psalms, every other verse in some cases. “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Says Psalm 95:1-2. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” Cries Psalm 100:1-2. “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Psalm 104:33 says, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.”
“Music through praising God helps connect us to something so much bigger than ourselves.” -Bryan Gilbert
So what are you listening to? What are you letting advise you? How are you using your voice during your brief time here on earth? Let me challenge you to reconsider your music. For me this involved deleting my Spotify account and starting from the ground up by building playlists that encourage me to meditate on my Savior and His wondrous deeds. He gave His life for me. The least I can do is live my life for him.
On that note, worship songs should naturally be based on scripture, but how cool is it to find a piece that can help you memorize the verses? Below I’ve listed a small sample of my favorite songs that are, for the most part, Bible verses put to music. I would encourage you to have your Bible open as you listen to these songs. Follow along and see where the lyrics derive from the verses.
“The Blessing” by Kari Jobe
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” -Numbers 6:24-26
“Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” -Job 1:21b
“How Majestic” by Sovereign Grace Music
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” -Psalm 8:1
Psalms, Vol. 2 by Shane & Shane
The cool thing about these songs is that they are pretty much a psalm put to music. For the most part, you can read along in your Bible as the song plays. I love that not only because the music helps me memorize scripture but also because it brings the verses to life in a way that might be missed by merely reading.
“Forever” by Chris Tomlin
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” -Psalm 136:1
“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!” -Psalm 47:6