It always amazes me when a day is going wrong, how much music can turn it around. I think this happens because music is a form of worship. When we start to sing unto the Lord, this act of worship can bring us closer to God. When we are close to God in worship, our troubles have a way of disappearing.
Where does the music come from when we are in need of a song? Quite often it comes from your memory. Unfortunately, most of the music in my memory I learned before I was a Christian. When a song gets stuck in my head, it is usually not a good one. I have to put forth extra effort to recall a wholesome song.
In Colossians 3:2 we read “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (KJV) Paul expands on this topic in Colossians.
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.
Colossians 3:16 (KJV)
This verse is nestled in the middle of a great chapter on Christian living. It teaches us how we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. In this chapter, we are told to put off many sins and bad behaviors. To replace that, we are told what we should put on: mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forgiveness, and most of all charity. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (KJV)
What does this all have to do with music? All of these thoughts lead up to verse 16, which speaks of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Interestingly, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are for the purpose of “teaching and admonishing one another.” We all probably know that teaching means instructing. Admonishing is a word that you may not be familiar with.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines admonishing as “reproving; warning; counseling; directing.” Ordinarily, we may not think of songs having the purpose of teaching and admonishing. But this is what verse 16 is teaching! This begs a question. What kind of teaching and admonitioning do the songs you listen to, do? Is it Biblical teaching? My pastor spoke recently about Bach’s two-question test for music. First, does the music seek to glorify God? Second, does the music seek to refresh your soul? These are good questions to test music with. I might add a third. Does the music teach and admonish you?
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of thy name.
Glory to God and praise and love
Be ever, ever given
By saints below and saints above,
The Church in earth and heaven.
Charles Wesley 1707-1788
There is a rich heritage of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Much can be learned there and hidden within your heart, and in the heart of your family. Sing praises to the Lord!
God bless, Mike