“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:16-17 KJV).
When it comes to those who listen exclusively to “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” and those who enjoy other forms of music, its important to recognize that there are differing opinions on this subject. Therefore, it becomes our responsibility to “…give preference to one another in honor” (NAS) as we’re told in Romans 12:10.
We should also remember that musicians earn their living by creating and selling their music to those who are willing to buy it. This has implications that extend beyond the purchase price of each song. You see, whenever we download a song, purchase an album, or attend a concert, we are effectively telling an artist that we support his or her efforts. It also tells the artist that we are likely to purchase more of his or her work if he or she continues to produce it.
This means that the music we purchase and the videos we watch are much like a vote for the music and musician who produced it. If we stop to ask, “Is it right for me to support this person and his or her work?” before downloading a song, it should help us make good, God-honoring choices.
Another key to making good decisions in this area lies in the words of 1 Corinthians 10:13: “All things are lawful for me but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me but all things do not edify.” In other words, it may be permissible to listen to a certain song or artist, but it may not be a good idea. The question is this: “will this build my faith or weaken it? Does this support those things I believe in or attempt to tear them down?” Or as 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 tells us, “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (NIV).
Finally, many musical artists enjoy a huge circle of influence by virtue of their creative talents. These groups or individuals impact millions of people and communicate their beliefs through concerts, videos, downloads, and radio airplay. If we view our music and entertainment choices through the lens of God’s Word, we will be well-positioned to live out the message of Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”