Last year, I joined a weekly Bible study at a local church. On the first day, I sat in the lecture hall and waited excitedly to receive my study book and instructions. I was (not pleasantly) surprised that the very first thing to happen was not an introduction of the leaders. Instead, the words to a song appeared on the screen in the front of the room and everyone stood to sing….without accompaniment. “Oh, this is not good”, I thought. See, I love music and I love to sing – in private! I have been self conscious of my singing voice since I was a child. And I really thought that I would not like this aspect of the Bible study – at all. In addition to my lack of confidence in singing, I also was not a huge fan of praise music. I enjoyed the music during Sunday worship, but I would choose almost any other kind of music or talk radio while driving.
Well, within a month, God had changed my heart so much about music that it is now one of my favorite things about my time in the Bible study. I started downloading the songs I liked and I began to listen to praise music in the car. The Bible study leader’s favorite song that year was “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns. This song became my anthem as I participated in the Renewing of the Mind study with Heidi last March.
Per her recommendation, I created a Renewing of the Mind playlist on my phone/ipod that continues to grow. I have found that the melodies and words get stuck not only in my head, but in my heart as well. I listen to my list as I prepare meals, exercise, drive, and sometimes as I get ready for the day.
Is it strange to think of music as a way to renew our minds? Here’s how I see it. Much of Christian music is based on scripture. When I am listening to the words or singing along:
1) I am praying God’s Word to Him. We are told “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
2) My mind is hearing the Truth of God’s Word, learning about His character, and absorbing how He relates to His people.
3) The words of scripture, the Truth, are settling in my heart. I am marinating in and meditating on His Word. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. “(Psalm 119:11)
4) I can use the Truths from music during a time of temptation. It is sometimes easier to call up the Truth in music than something I have memorized without music. Think about all of the things in school you learned set to a tune – the alphabet, continents song, my daughter learned about igneous rock set to the Addams family song! In temptation, I use many tools – Truth cards, the Bible, prayer, getting on my knees, TW scripture cards, and music.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. “(2 Cor 10:1)
5) It is a form of worship. Think of singing songs about and to God as a “God List” set to music. Again, it reminds us of God’s character and His relationship with us.
How About You?
I’d love to see us share the songs that we enjoy and the ones that help us in our journey with the Lord.
Your favorites may include gospel, hymnals, Southern gospel, current praise, or even secular music that speaks to you of God. I’ll start. ☺
- Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns,
- I Have a Song, Christ in Me, really anything by Shannon Wexelberg
- Whom Shall I Fear, Our God, The Name of Jesus by Chris Tomlin
- True Things, Your Hands, All I Need (many others) by JJ Heller (folksy)
- In Christ Alone feat Kristian Stanfill
- Born Again by Third Day
- Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone, You are Holy by Michael Smith
- Because You Are by Point of Grace
- Lifeline by Mandisa
- My Soul Sings by Meredith Andrews
- Hello, My Name Is by Matthew West – fun song!
- I’m adding our own Rebecca Bryan to the list!
There are many more, but these are some my favorites.
What are yours?
~ Carrie (Not South Africa)