I remember sitting alone on the piano bench in the student center of my university. After being joined by a friend, I decided to play her a song I liked. I didn’t think much of it, I just played the first song that came into my head. Little did I know that the friend I was serenading would one day be my wife and that the song I was playing was her favorite. When I watched her walk down the aisle to the very same song on our wedding day, I couldn’t have been more glad that I had learned to play the piano.
How many times have you heard a song that brings a vivid memory to the front of your mind or listened to your favorite song to cheer you up after a bad day? Music is powerful and we don’t often think about everything that happens in the background when we listen to it. My life has been greatly influenced by learning and listening to music. Growing up I found many moments of joy when listening to the Beatles with my dad as we drove down the highway together. Learning Stairway to Heaven on his outdated guitar while his teenage self played with me over our old tapes also pops into my head. I believe that music not only has the power to teach us new lessons and bring us great joy but the power to change our lives.
WHY MUSIC IS IMPORTANT
Artistic expression is very important for most people. Some find their joy in the outdoors, painting, dance, food, and countless other things. For me, music speaks straight to the soul, and it is where I find the most joy. When I was a kid, I was invited to church by a close friend. The very first thing I noticed when visiting was how amazing the music was. I had never seen drums in a church before! I begged my parents to come with me for weeks until they finally did. We’ve been at church ever since, and music has always been the thing that spoke the loudest. When the Bible passages or the sermons were too hard to understand, music put things plainly, and it conveyed emotion easily.
Memory is such an important part of music for all of us who love it, just like the memory of playing piano for my wife. I listen to that song and every part of that wonderful memory comes rushing back. Though there are also songs that remind me of troublesome times. When I listen to them now, I remember all of those feelings associated with those times, but I also realize where I am now. Being able to go back and revisit those moments while knowing that I have overcome those obstacles is an amazing feeling.
My relationship with Jesus has grown because of music. During those same teenage years, I came to understand the beauty of the gospel and God’s love through songs that we would sing in church. From that point on, music has been my direct lifeline to God. It helps me understand and communicate in a way that works for me. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to a song over and over again because it was so aligned with my current situation. At Shepherd’s Gate, I often hear, “I heard this song today and it was JUST what I needed”. To me, God understands the influence of music, and sometimes the Holy Spirit puts those songs right in our path!
HOW CAN MUSIC CHANGE OUR DAY?
It is crucial to pay close attention to what we listen to. The right songs can give us a wonderful outlook throughout our day, but music with harmful messages can also affect the way we think. At Shepherd’s Gate, we sing songs every Sunday that encourage us to live lives of love and acknowledge all of the gifts God gives us. As the Worship Leader, my process for choosing songs that we sing in church always includes careful deliberation, prayer, and connection with the other members of our team. This allows one single message of love to pour into our Worship Center every Sunday morning. I try to dig deep into the words that we sing at church because they hold the truth of God’s grace within them. If we can understand what we’re singing, we can fully receive and celebrate that grace through these songs.
Take a look at the music that you surround yourself with. Is the music speaking life into you? Does it bring you joy? The more we are aware of music’s power and how God can use it, the more thankful we’ll be when God shows up through our radio or on a Sunday morning right when we need it. Pay close attention to what is approaching your ears. Dig deep into the truths that your music speaks, and see if there are places where God is speaking goodness to you through it. If you are someone who connects with music, I hope you can hear God’s beauty through this wonderful gift. I know I have! If you want to listen to some inspiring tunes, here’s a Spotify playlist to get you through your day.