Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Melanie Gatlin - Secular music and my pursuit of Godliness

Melanie Gatlin is a young lady that I had the honor and privilege of having in my student ministry during my time at First Baptist Graham.  She frequently amazes me with just how much God is using her and growing her in holiness to be more conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ.

There came a point in Melanie's walk with Christ where God clearly convicted her to rid her playlist and CD case of secular music.  She was obedient and the fruit produced as a result has been apparent.  I talk about folks needing to rid themselves of these type of things frequently but with teens I know that sometimes it helps if this comes from a peer.  Someone their age and someone who is facing the same pressures that they are.  The following is a blog I asked Melanie to write.  It is essentially her testimony on why she felt so convicted and the results of it.  Thanks for guest blogging for me Melanie!

Enjoy,
j

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It's funny that Jason asked me to write this when he did. Coming up this month is my 3-year anniversary of giving up secular music. Also, during the past week, in the midst of chewing on what all I wanted to say in this, God started a conversation among a few friends and myself about secular music. Becuase of this conversation, I got a refresher on the excuses I gave and the ones I now hear all the time when this topic comes up.

I'm not trying to make myself look better or more Godly than anyone else. And I'm not trying to condemn anyone who listens to secular music. I don't believe it's a sin to listen to secular music. When I used to listen to it, it wasn't a sin for me. However, when God began to tell me to rid my life of it and I didn't obey, the secular music then became a sin in my life (James 4:17). For example, when God first convicted me to delete any music that didn't specifically glorify Him I said, "okay, Lord". But when the time came to actually do it, it was a lot harder than I expected. I made compromises, only deleting the worst of my music. For about six months I was trapped in the sin of my secular music because God told me to get it out of my life and I didn't listen.
The impact: My walk with Christ has grown. It definitely would have been hindered had I continued to spend my time searching for Godless music just so I could show off to my friends. This sounds lame and like a generic answer, but it is extremely uplifting. In my car, I plug my iPod in and listen to it without any worries about filtering the songs when my little brother is in the car, or when a non-Christian is in the car. Yeah, I am left out of some conversations from time to time and people don't understand why I don't listen to the secular music, but isn't this life all about glorifying the Lord? Isn't that why I am here on this earth? Am I here to be in on all the conversations about the newest, hottest band? This is my only life, my only opportunity to make a stand for Christ.

Every time I'm in my car I am listening to music and singing along. Because of that time in the car, when you add it all up, I spend so much time daily praising Him and glorifying His name. I am not saying all of this to glorify myself and make myself look good. The only reason I even deleted my songs in the first place was because God made it so heavy on my heart that I finally decided to give it a try. It's all because of Him that I am now able to experience Him everytime I get into my car; to Him be all the glory. I can honestly say I don't feel like I'm missing anything by not listening to the music that "everyone else listens to." Instead, what I listen to now uplifts me. Also, because I don't listen to secular music, I don't sing it either. This creates a sort of, I guess "pure" voice between the Lord and myself. It's become like a romantic type of thing, strengthening our relationship. In the same way we save ourselves physically for our spouses, my voice is something I save only for the Lord, making music so much more personal, sincere, and beautiful.

The excuses:

1.) "I'm just singing the song, I don't really pay attention to the lyrics. All I pay attention to is the beat." James 3:10 "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." This verse applies 100%. There is no, "I'm just singing the song, I don't really pay attention to the lyrics." Why would you speak not knowing what you're saying? 2 Timothy 2:16. I promise you, whether you are intentionally listening to the lyrics or not, the message the song is sending is leaking into your mind. You can say all day that the lyrics don't affect you, but after listening "only to the beat" of a song say 15 times, you'll still be able to sing it word for word, even if you weren't focusing on the lyrics. I understand, I gave this excuse too. For six months I gave every excuse I could imagine, but after finally submitting, I have experienced a more pure relationship with God than I ever had before.

2.) "He is so talented! I am praising the Lord for the talent God has blessed him with." You're still filling your mind with useless, meaningless things. There are thousands upon thousands of talented, Christian musicians. I promise, God didn't only bless the secular musicians.
 
3.) "I listen to the musical aspect of it and Christian songs aren't all that musical, just lyrical. Besides, I can't get into any of the Christian music, it all sounds the same to me." This may be 2 excuses in one, but nonetheless, it's an excuse. I personally can promise you that there is atleast one band in which you can "get in to". I have 1060 Christian songs in my iTunes alone, just imagine how many more songs there are out there than that! And because God is placing this decision on your heart, I promise He will provide for you accordingly.

I understand giving the excuses, I did it too. I blocked the Lord out for 6 months when He was wanting me to purify my life from secular music. I'm not asking you to completely get rid of secular music, that's all up to God. I just want to plant this seed and let God grow it (1 Corinthians 3:7). From here, it's all up to God to impress the desire upon your heart to purify your iTunes.

 
The benefits of having a pure iPod: the answer is in the subtitle-pure. Listening to only Christian music is the most mind-purifying thing I've ever experienced. Rather than pulling me down or planting unclean thoughts in my head, Christian music uplifts me on a daily basis. I don't regret deleting my secular music, and I haven't regretted it once in the past 3 years.

Also music is no longer an idol for me. When I listened to secular music, I would split up my God time from my music time. I would set aside a time for my music and then maybe ten minutes before bed for God. This separated my day, and I spent much more time saturating myself in the world rather than in God's beautiful presence. But now with Christian music, I don't have to put God on hold when I want to listen to music. When I'm busy driving in my car, I am still praising Him because I have my iPod full of uplifting, God-honoring music. This decision has strengthened my relationship with my Savior.

I don't mean to preach at you, I just want you to hear the benefits of a pure iPod. You should try it yourself. No, you don't have to delete all of your music, but make a playlist of only Christian songs and challenge yourself to listen to only that for a full week. You'll see a difference. If you don't listen to your iPod in the car, change the radio station to a Christian one, I promise you can find one. And if all else fails, just try turning off the secular music altogether, even if you don't have Christian music to replace it. You won't be missing out on anything for those 7 days, trust me. It's been 3 years and not once have I regretted my decision to rid secular music from my life. I pray you'll try it. Oh the wonders God will do when we take a break from the messages the world wants us to hear and just listen to Him.

3 comments:

  1. This exact same thing happened to me today. And honestly, I had to bite my lip when I read that it was when she hesitated to obey God's voice, that the secular music had become a sin in her life. To this I can completely relate. With that being said, I am going to purge my iTunes right now, rather than wait one more minute to do so!

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  2. This exact same thing happened to me today. And honestly, I had to bite my lip when I read that it was when she hesitated to obey God's voice, that the secular music had become a sin in her life. To this I can completely relate. With that being said, I am going to purge my iTunes right now, rather than wait one more minute to do so!

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  3. That's awesome Daisy! I'm glad that Melanie's testimony on the subject could minister to you!

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