Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)
TITLE: Music & Worship
By Billie Jo Youmans
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Music, like a smile, is said to be a universal language. Music is a language of the emotions, an expression of the soul, and linked to our physical bodies in ways we do not fully understand. Music can quiet the heart or energize the mind. It can bless. It can irritate. Music is far more than the words and it is seldom neutral. It is both an art and a science.
Research has shown music’s impact on the intellectual development of infants, its potential influence in murderous rampages and even the capacity of music to transform the material world (e.g. protein solidification). Studies are ongoing to determine the healing implications of music. Music is, indeed, a formidable mode of expression and a blessing from God. It bears remembering, though, that like all God created, music has been corrupted by sin and has the potential for evil as well as good.
Due to the power and prevalence of music, it stands to reason Satan would use it as a tool to destroy lives and divide God’s children. In fact, scripture indicates that in God’s original design, prior to Satan’s fall, Satan had tremendous involvement with music. Satan knows music and its capacity for influencing mankind. God created man with great complexity…we are spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social. Perhaps the inherent power of music is its ability to interact with each of us in all our complexities.
One of the ancient Chinese Khan rulers is said to have gauged the well-being of his subjects by the music produced (and desired) by the masses. Strident sounds alerted the Khan to unrest and he immediately turned his attention to those subjects. He maintained order by recognizing that the needs of his people were expressed through the sounds of their music. In a similar manner, music is an open door through which we can look at the heart of modern American Christianity.
American churches sometimes fail to make a distinction between music and worship. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably and much damage is being done to the body of Christ. Music is humanity-centered, not God-centered. Music can create dissension; true worship will never divide. Music is a statement of human emotions, designed to please the senses of our earthly bodies.
Worship is a statement of the intrinsic excellence of God and the intrinsic inferiority of man. Music generates emotions based on the personality and experience of the listener. Dismay could flow from the heart of one listener while enthusiasm exudes from another over the very same musical performance. Worship, on the other hand, will elicit respect, awe, wonder and holy fear for our majestic God from each participant. Music turns our hearts inward to our personal experience and emphasizes ‘self.’
Worship turns our focus God-ward and promotes love of one another. Let us enjoy music as a gift from our loving Creator and center our worship on Him alone!
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