I may lose some friends and followers over this post. I may even get some hateful comments, or be called a goody-two-shoes, a hater, or a prude. It wouldn’t be the first time. My heart here really is not to come off as any of those things. It isn’t to be prideful or judgmental, but as Christians I want us to really be aware of what is at stake when we choose to live like the world while proclaiming we belong to Christ. We hear it all the time, “you do you”–live your life how you want. But as Christians this motto is a far cry from how the Bible has called us to live. As a follower of Christ, you don’t do YOU, you do Jesus.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
If I had a nickel for every time I have heard, “I just like the beat. I don’t listen to the lyrics” or “it’s not that bad”, I would be rich as all get out. I made the same excuses for a long time. I knew I was wrong, and I chose not to care. Yet here is the hard truth: God is not interested in “not that bad”; He said “be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness is not arrogance. To be holy means to be set apart, and as Christians we are not called to live as the world lives. Everything we do matters–what we listen to, what we watch or what we read, or whatever else we choose to participate in. That’s not even being legalistic; it’s obedience to Christ.
Yet everywhere I turn, I see that Christians are listening to Drake, Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars, Cardi B, and a whole host of other secular [for lack of a better term] artists. Why?? If we truly believe the Word of God and what it says, why are we not guarding our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23)? Why are we not setting our minds on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8)? Why are we listening to songs laced with obscenities, and speaking of the degradation of both men and women, sexual sin, violence, and murder??
“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
“For some do not have the knowledge of God”…I can’t even begin to imagine the number of people I misrepresented Jesus to while I was in pursuit of my selfish desires, all the while still “believing in God”. I’m finding out that believing in God and choosing God are two very different things, and people can see that. They can see when I choose Him on Sundays, and during my morning devotions. They see me going to Bible study and helping out at church events. But what about work? School? Where do I go with my friends? How do I live at home or in my car when that crazy driver cuts me off? What do I post on social media?
I am beginning to understand for myself [not just read it in the Bible], that He is an all or nothing God. Deuteronomy 4:24 says that He “is a consuming fire, a jealous God”, and in James 4:5, “the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously.” You see God wants your WHOLE heart, and He is not unreasonable to make such a request. We are to be living testimonies of what Christ has called us into, all the while not holding onto what He has called us out of (1 Peter 2:9).
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-8
When you read, watch, listen to, or engage in something, is it speaking to your flesh? Or is it speaking to your spirit? It took me a long time to let go of what my flesh wanted. It wasn’t until I realized I had made idols out these things [running to them instead of God], that I made the decision to release them. In those moments it was never easy to let go, but when I finally stopped ignoring the tug in my spirit, I didn’t miss those things at all. I actually felt lighter.
I suspect that this may be a big hurdle for some, and if you have even bothered to read this far, my hope is that you take some time to reflect and pray about why it is a struggle to let go. I have listed some things below that really encouraged me to shift my perspective when it came to things I visually and audibly consumed.
Is Secular Music a Sin? – Jefferson Bethke **I tend to be long-winded as you can see, but Jeff really breaks this issue down in a way I hadn’t thought of when I was going through the struggle myself.
Plugged In [Focus on the Family] **Plugged In is a website where movies, music, TV, books and games are reviewed from a Christian perspective. The writers continually astound me with their ability to review the content [good, bad, and in-between] with genuine grace and truth.
The Good Christian Music Blog – YouTube **There is seriously SO much good Christian music on here–I was shocked honestly! Ranging in different styles from Indie, Electronica, Hip-Hop, R&B, and Singer-Songwriter, there’s something for everyone .
Gods At War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart by Kyle Idleman **This book honestly wrecked me. It was a huge catalyst for change in my walk with Christ, as I was completely unaware of the many idols I had allowed in my life.