DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
FROM FACES TO FINGERPRINTS
There are many different styles of music in the world with everyone having a wide variety to choose from. But why are certain people drawn to music they describe as their favorite? Is it style, the message, the rhythm or an inner relation to the “soul” of the sound? I believe that far beyond the notes there is a spiritual force behind music whether good or bad. Since God created music we can know that it has always been a part of His heavenly vision of holiness and honor but unfortunately the devil always tries to imitate and produce a counterfeit for everything the Lord creates. As much as true worship edifies the spirit man the devil’s perverted music brings the opposite to the mind and heart. Demons are assigned to watch us and have been referred to as “familiar spirits” because they are familiar with our lifestyles and desires and manipulate us with these connections. For example, much of country music has long been associated with the hurts and pains of broken hearts, and disappointments with love relationships. Those who can relate to these experiences become linked or bonded to this emotional attachment and so it becomes like a friend that understands their innermost feelings. Rock and roll is another example of how a movement can promote an attitude that represents rebellion against authority, an “in your face” aggressiveness and a “shock” factor. Young people who are infected with rebellion become connected to this brazen arrogance as a way of expressing the hardness of their identity. With commitment and loyalty they pledge allegiance to the message and become calloused soldiers to this cause. Some may argue that the words are what make the difference while others may believe it is the words and music style together. I believe it is the power of the words because I play music every week in the church that has the same rhythms and chords of the dark music but they are carrying the “living water” of the spoken word of God.
It seems these spirits have the insight on how to feed the human nature mentality and keep these negative character traits stirred up which in turn causes more strife. This merry-go-round of emotional turmoil is the mission of Satan and his demons in this earth. He is the author of confusion and chaos, and works around the clock trying to prevent the masses from finding true love and peace. The only place this can be found is through Jesus Christ so it only makes sense that Satan works very hard to distract all people from knowing God. I have been writing Christian music for years and have given away many recordings of my songs to as many people as I could. It has puzzled me how many people would take the songs but never comment on them at all. It has also surprised me with those who claim to be Christians how they did not care for this kind of music. I have come to realize that if people are not walking with God in a personal relationship, they will not feel comfortable with expressions of intimacy to God. Those who keep their distance with God will also keep their distance from music that worships him. If people avoid God’s presence then it is only logical they will also shun away from the thing that makes them uncomfortable. We choose what we love and have free-will to live the way we want. We can claim to be anything but it is the heart that reveals our passion and purpose. If we choose to love God we will follow him and everything that is connected to knowing and loving him more. If our heart dwells in darkness we will manifest and promote the flesh and the love for the world. Maybe music is a good thermometer that reveals where our devotion and true desires are. The tight grip of the world on our conscience is very strong but not more powerful than our prayers. God is ready to help deliver us from our emotional misery but waits patiently for us to surrender our will to him. What will it take for us to become serious and to really desire change from the inside out?
Picture this scenario; a group of Christian teenagers are in a church service where traditional hymns are being sung. They roll their eyes and make comments about how boring the songs sound. But across town we find another group of Christian young people shouting, jumping and weeping as they worship with a Christian rock band that are playing songs with similar lyrics but with a different beat. Both styles of music tell how awesome God is; each group plays instruments and sings, both are talented, anointed and sincere. What is the difference? The power of connection! Just like electricity; when the right wires are connected – the light comes on! And that’s ok! Mankind was never intended to be built on an assembly line like a robot. God created us with different taste because He wanted each person to be a unique, perfect treasure. Our “spiritual circuitry” is what makes our relationship with Him personal as there has never been anyone like us and there never will be. All of us being the same yet completely different is very similar to the mystery of the trinity being one God yet three individual persons. And as we love every ornament on the Christmas tree individually He also loves each one of us and counts us special.
Some believe their way of worship is correct and feel they know how God wants to be praised while others look down their noses at the ones they feel are doing it wrong. The truth is whoever finds that “secret” place with Him and bows before Him in spirit and truth has found the beauty of His holiness.
It is not the notes or rhythms that make a song heavenly – it is when heaven is absorbed in the song that makes it alive. Even the Bible itself would be a boring history book if it was not saturated in God’s Spirit that breathes life into each syllable. Whether we have gifts of art, music, preaching, teaching, writing, giving, building or any type of serving, we all connect with what we relate to and this is the direct point where God can connect with us. Will we ever grasp the revelation of, “Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” He waits for us to reach out by faith and bring His heaven into our earth. Walking, thinking and living in His Spirit realm is what having our mind being transformed is all about.
As worship leaders we need to pray more about allowing God to show us which songs He wants to deliver no matter how old they are or out of “style” they seem. We realize that God can take all types of lyrics and styles and transform them into a – spiritual language that can minister to each heart individually – super-naturally. It is not just about the songs we like to play or our personal favorites – it is about being obedient to God’s direction and flexible enough to love others and see them receive God’s ministry. The stage is not a place for us to entertain or be some kind of imaginary rock star but it is a place of service just like working in a soup kitchen. God provides the ingredients, we labor to coordinate it and serve it and when the needy choose to receive the food, the Lord does His miracle of providing spiritual nourishment to their soul.
If we take a close look at the words and themes of praise and worship music we will discover they are the same throughout the centuries and are just recycled with new “sounds” with different rhythms and instruments. Every generation has related to their own version of what they thought was a fresh new contemporary expression of “I love you Lord”, but no matter how many different ways we tell God how much we love Him, it is equally beautiful to God.
We realize that pure “spirit and truth” praise and worship is more than just musical emotion ABOUT God; it is a personal relationship WITH God. Spiritual worship is exposing our conscience and connecting with our Lord, choosing by faith to walk toward Him – drawing nearer. There is nothing wrong with style because with expanding our variety we increase the potential that can relate and lead different personalities into God and make a bond that maybe nothing else could. We just witnessed the rap style and it was great! The words were in a musical rhythm and they rhymed just like the music we are accustomed to – just a little different. Style is just the vehicle that carries the precious contents – the message. “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: It shall not return to Me void (without producing any effect useless), but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Let us be careful that we do not presume that everyone’s musical style is the same and to respect how other people connect with God, (they love their style as much as you love your style). Actually worship is far beyond musical style, popular entertainment or religious programs – it is where God is known. Can the angels in heaven be categorized as having a particular style? Of all the styles of worship all over the world, is any one style closer to God’s heart than any other? What an awesome miracle that God can touch so many hearts in a worship service in a personal way – all at the same time – and most do not even realize this “spiritual wonder” is happening. As worship leaders we can see how important it is to be led by the Holy Spirit as God takes music and delivers His message that encourages our spirit and changes our character.