Monday, 9 September 2013

Guard your heart

How many times have I heard this? You know the memes about “What Christian people say?” – this should be one of them.  Hearing ‘guard your heart’ makes me want to punch someone sometimes.  Could you be more vague? I did a verse search on guarding your heart and there are AWESOME scriptures talking about how important our hearts are. But after hearing it a lot lately I got thinking: there must be some line we can cross where we choose not to guard our hearts. And I’m not just talking about the Ryan Gosling picture and dating kind of heart guarding; living in a fallen world calls for all kinds of guards and in fact the Bible speaks more about these than dating anyway.  Here’s the Gosling picture for you to enjoy while I gather my thoughts…


The discussion over Christian vs Secular music has come up quite a bit within my friendship group lately. It’s been done in blogs and sermons but I thought I’d try touch on it a bit too. Is it bad that I listen to very little ‘Christian’ music? Sure there are tons of bands whose music I love, and I’ll put them on my iPod. But there’s also a LOT of secular music on there and it begs the question; is this good for my heart? Everybody loves Mumford & Sons and we claim them as a band with Christian themes quite comfortably. But there are those songs with the bad words that we skim over and hope no one notices. Do we stop listening? I don’t listen to much explicit music; swearing is not my favourite quality in a song and I don’t think it’s very good for me but it does happen. But despite the obvious, sometimes I find myself singing along to a Lana del Rey song about men and find I know the words without really thinking about them. There are a lot of people who will condemn this and stand up for a secular or at the very least explicit free playlist. I get where they’re coming from and it’s not that I necessarily disagree but I also think we sometimes read into things a little too much and need to understand that certain things affect people differently. Some people have hearts that are sensitive to the morals, or lack thereof, that a lot of music encourages. And yes, when I see Miley twerking on stage and encouraging girls to dance like strippers and take drugs or another song promoting the idea that we should live hard and fast because who cares if we die tomorrow from over-indulgence – it breaks my heart. These are not the ideals that little (and big, impressionable) hearts should be looking up to. But I also think that we need to understand that listening to certain secular artists are not going to bind you to hell. I feel like I’m being controversial here. I found this verse which I loved:

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

I think this is where we need to draw the line: not all things are good or helpful- as much as I’m saying its ok to have an open mind, I know we are called to surround ourselves with only good things (Philippians 4:8). And so if you feel strongly that you are enslaved by the music you listen to- be careful!! If that is where you are tempted, if that is what makes your heart uncomfortable- turn away. Throw away the CD. But if not, if you are able to listen to music that has some questionable lyrics or which come from a non-Christian but you are able to separate yourself from it then enjoy it for what it is. I have written things before that have been taken the wrong way so let me be clear: I am NOT saying that we should be loving the fact that little girls are twerking or little boys are learning to pimp them shorties. I’m NOT saying we should not be aware of how lyrics can sometimes speak to your heart and if you internalise the values being expressed then there is trouble. What I AM saying is that before you judge your fellow brother or sister in Christ for their choice of music, remember that we all do not consume music in the same way. There is a lot of awesome Christian music out there, we are very blessed, but there is come cool secular music too.

A good friend of mine sent me this amazing video which I wish to share with you because this guy says what I have been trying to say in a much better way. Watch it, then keep reading J

I watched this video after I had written my piece so I chose to leave it there anyway and touch on what this cool cat had to say. What is good, and true, and lovely, is from God whether the person expressing those values knows it or not don’t you think? I love that he says God has a monopoly on truth – how incredible. If this is the case and we claim things for His kingdom then it makes sense that if a song talks about peace, love, lending a hand or living your life in a God honouring way then enjoy it! It’s truth! No matter the source. If a song makes you uncomfortable and promotes things not from God – think twice. Same as everything we consume in this world. I think God wants us to be joyful and music is a huge source of joy for a lot of us…if the music you listen to causes you to worship the Lord in some way then I’m all for it. I think this is what I was trying to get across but just a little less eloquently than the video ;)
So instead of telling you to just guard your heart against the influences of secular music and walking away, leaving you in a confused state with no clear way to move forward – I hope I’ve given a little bit of perspective to the situation and you are better able to think carefully about what you’re consuming and how it affects your heart. Maybe next time we can get into the dating kind of guarding your heart because goodness knows that’s a struggle too.

Until next time…Let go and let God


1 comment:

  1. Hey B

    I see where you're coming from, that people 'consume music in different ways' but I still think that no what how you choose to listen to it, it still affects us subliminally. That is to say, slowly but surely, explicit/secular music is de-sensitising us to sex, drugs, alcohol etc. The mere fact that we hear these things potrayed in some positive light makes them less distant and more realistic in terms of our own lives.

    Having said that, I listen to secular music myself, but I'm not sure if I continue on this path. I mean, I can't go cold turkey on Owl City, but I need to beware what I listen to and what I let affect me.