I just got my first iPod. (Okay, quit smirking. I'm slow.)
Now when I walk around oblivious to anything but the worship music crashing into my ears, my kids give me the same looks I used to give them. Let them roll their eyes. I've earned it!
I've been on a downloading frenzy, discovering praise and worship bands I hadn't heard of before. LOVE Kari Jobe and Gateway Worship, Encounter Worship, and the Women of Faith. This constant access to uplifting, worshipful music keeps me in a good mood. My thoughts are constantly where they ought to be--on the thrilling majesty of God. And when your thoughts are where they ought to be, the rest of you is going to feel better.
But when I see the zillions of people walking around with the telltale cord running from ear to pocket, I wonder where their thoughts are. If the constant presence of worship music lifts my mind and spirit, where would my heart be if I was listening to something else?
Scripture says "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." And nothing thinks our thoughts for us like music pumping directly into our ears.
We all have different tastes in music. What I find uplifting bores my daughter, and her favorite bands annoy me. My 20-year-old son feasts on a steady diet of Weird Al Yankovich!(Weird Al is actually very funny!)
Music itself is neither good nor bad. The test of good music is what it creates inside your spirit. Where does it lead your heart? When you listen to your favorite songs, where do your thoughts go? Does your music stir up dissatisfaction? Restlessness? Does it take you back to a time you'd do better to forget? Do the words paint an alluring picture of something God disallows? Does the artist flaunt evil and dare you to do the same?
Some of what the world calls music is clearly offensive and anybody with a shred of sense avoids that stuff. But what about all the other? All the secular or even some that is called Christian?
I hear your "humph!" Okay, so it's not overtly about God, what's wrong with that?
Nothing's wrong with it if it leaves your heart in a higher place, thinking right thoughts, desiring Godly attitudes. If it turns your mind toward doing right, inspires you to live better, fills you with hope, and thrills you with promise.
But so much of current popular entertainment focuses on darkness, even some Christian music. It's depressing. It points out all that is wrong, hurtful, angry in life, and gives no solutions. When the song ends, your thoughts go on...and on... Mulling over dark feelings, agreeing that yes, things are bad and life is meaningless.
Okay then, what about light pop music? Nothing wrong with that, is there? It's just fun. Harmless.
Maybe. Most Top 40 songs have one theme: romance and getting "my baby" back. Some of that is fine, but what is it really saying? What ideas are pumped like oxygen directly into your spirit? In a large percentage of popular songs, the singer is pining to spend the night with the current object of his lust and is wailing about it, accompanied by a lot of synthesizers.
If the music doesn't move you, stir you, connect with something inside your heart, you probably don't like it and it won't be on your iPod. So the fact that it's on there says you relate to it. But what part of you relates to it? Your worldly side or your spirit?
This is not a rant against secular music. I've got plenty of that on my iPod too, but I notice that the closer I draw to God, I don't care to listen to it much. It doesn't do anything for me. Seems empty somehow. Pointless.
Think of this post as a checkpoint, a little stop along the way asking you to rethink some of your music choices. What is going into your ears does affect your spirit. If you rely on your iPod for little time-outs during the day, little escapes from daily stress, then be careful what you're listening to.
When you set the headphones aside, is your outlook more positive, your attitude more pleasant, your spirit calm? Or are you feeling down and don't know why? Have your thoughts ventured into areas where they shouldn't go? Are you having trouble focusing on your spiritual life the way you want to? Do you find yourself humming lyrics that, were you to write them down and show them to your pastor, would mortify you?
Maybe the answer is as close as your iPod.