What’s on your iPod or smartphone? What kind of music do you like? Why do you like it? How does it inform and enhance your spiritual life?
Technology is a huge part of all of our lives and I for one am glad I live today. Now we get up and can access music from Bose docking stations that charge our mobile devices. Our computer is on and ready for a variety of web cruising and functions throughout our day. On Demand movies, digital television, and video games are fingertip gestures away. The software and app’s available are incredible assets to what we do at school and work. There is, however, a lot of tech and entertainment content to distract us from our personal, family, and work responsibilities.
I was talking with an older musician named James recently who drove a shuttle for a Honda dealer. He played the bass guitar for years on the rock music scene. He was driving me home while the shop completed maintenance on my ‘04 CRV and I asked him about music and life.
He said he took some lumps for a long time after getting into the drug-alcohol-party scene. He came to detest lonely days and nights on the road, driving from one gig to another for months. It looks glamorous flying across the ocean to tour Europe, Asia, or South America, having groupies call your name and wanting a piece of you. One night stands led to many broken-hearted attempts at finding wholeness. Having a child with a woman he thought he loved, and then watching her vanish after he came home late from another 40-city tour with the Dave Matthews band was soul crushing. He became a follower of Christ recently and told me about the change in his heart and his renewed life-focus. He felt like Humpty-Dumpty reborn.
“It’s all about the heart. A heart set on the glory of God is one that will use music (and even the modern technology that helps make music) for good. A heart that puts Jesus first and center won’t let anything else to take over. I learned the hard way and am moving in that direction.”
Read Ephesians 5:15-21.
The apostle Paul wrote the early Christians at Ephesus to “Be very careful, then, how you live” (v 19). He added, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” Paul put the approaches of the wise and the foolish side-by-side. The wise person looks for opportunity to live life well and talk and live for Christ. The foolish is self-centered and misses the chance to show God’s love. It comes down to a heart matter: You either live for God or not.
In terms of music, it’s not critical whether you listen to Elton John or Billy Joel play the piano, or play the piano on your iPad. What is significant is your relationship with God. Is that an actionable priority for you and the people around you?
James saw and experienced the top of the music world, but his heart was not set on Jesus and he suffered because of it. He would not blame music or technology as reasons for avoiding the real life issues he needed to address. He finally yielded to the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit.
It is too easy to blame or back away from the words, images, sounds, and technology that has become so much a part of our world. Enjoy your music. If it’s an obsession, then tone it down and build margin in your life habits. Walk wisely. The on-off switch works both ways.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz