“Let the word of Christ be in you in all wealth of wisdom; teaching and helping one another with songs of praise and holy words, making melody to God with grace in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16).
While it may be inappropriate to eliminate all forms of secular music from our playlists, we should be aware of the need to be selective about the music we listen to. For instance, its important to distinguish between a musician’s God-given talent (a gift that can prompt us to praise and honor God) and the way that he or she lives or employs that talent. Of course, the same holds true for all artists whether they are musicians, performance artists (like actors or dancers) or fine artists (such as painters and sculptors).
Because of this, it may be possible for Christians to honor God and enjoy the skills and talents He’s given to certain musicians even if they produce music that falls outside the realm of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We can ask two important questions that can help determine what’s appropriate and inappropriate in regard to secular music…
- What does this song say and mean?
- What message or worldview does this song communicate to those who are listening?
If we receive negative answers to those questions (even a few) then it would probably be wise to delete that song or artist from our playlists.
It’s also important to be sensitive to other Christians who may be uncomfortable with the idea of listening to music that is not specifically designed to worship or honor God. For example, the person who only listens to “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” and the person who listens to other types of music can both point to the same portion of Scripture to support that decision. That passage is found in the Biblical book of Romans…
“You may know that there is nothing wrong with what you do, even from God’s point of view, but keep it to yourself; don’t flaunt your faith in front of others who might be hurt by it. In this situation, happy is the man who does not sin by doing what he knows is right.
But anyone who believes that something he wants to do is wrong shouldn’t do it. He sins if he does, for he thinks it is wrong, and so for him it is wrong. Anything that is done apart from what he feels is right is sin” (Romans 14:22-23 TLB).
We’ll close our brief look at this subject with some final thoughts next.