Miley’s manic behavior on the Video Music Awards got attention -- mostly bad. While the media analyzes her singing, dancing and unrestrained antics, gasping parents wonder “where did Hannah go?” while kids are undoubtedly celebrating her freedom of expression.
Music bypasses your cognitive thinking and goes directly into your soul. It speaks. You feel it, and don’t typically think about it. Music can represent freedom, a place to go to when life weighs you down. It’s tempting to turn to music to escape instead of God.
Music can be uplifting, and it can fan the flame of guilt, shame and rebellion. According to child therapists, music is the number one way troubled youth cope with their pain.
What you and your kids listen to matters. Music is more than entertainment. It can represent an anthem of individuality or glorify the rebel yell. But it can go deeper. For example, the "YOLO" reference in a popular rap song has kids around the world singing lyrics about "you only live once" and marching to the beat of a cultural lie that many will adopt as a closely-held philosophy, even tattoo it on their body like actor Zac Efron did.
The bottom line is your kids are listening, watching and ultimately learning from today’s music. The question is, how does God’s man manage the influence of music with his children? I’ve provided some guidance in my “Uprising” material. In the meantime, here are some tips to managing the music in your life:
First, I’m not suggesting your household become the next Elmore City, Oklahoma from the movie “Footloose” that outlaws certain music and dancing. But God’s man can guide his family to recognize what’s important about music’s influence.
- Recognize Only God Can Meet Your Needs. We need a relationship with God to create meaning in our lives. He promises to provide for our needs. And, we need God to feel and give love. Without Him and without love, our lives resemble a “resounding gong or clanging cymbal” as it says in I Corinthians 13. Without God, music can temporarily “fill the void” in your soul, but leave emptiness once the music fades away.
- Recognize the Creator Behind the Music. Behind the music is a maker. Music reveals the heart and soul of the songwriter. It’s a window to their soul. But often, we stop at the music surface, the beat, lyrics and melody and rarely go beyond to meet the maker. Get to know the songwriter and you will find role models your kids are singing along with. Then, perhaps for fun, compare today’s music with one of the most famous singers, songwriters in the Bible -- David. His lyrics reflect longings, honest fears, and desires to know and trust God. Know David and you will know a “man after God’s own heart” who put his faith into a warrior’s melody.
- Recognize the Risk. Open a dialogue with your kids about music. Appreciate their music, but analyze it. Look at the message in context, and the maker behind it. Then, answer these questions together: What is this song all about? Is that what you really want in your mind? What does God want us to “dwell on?” Refer to Philippians 4:8 for guidance.
God’s man needs to “live in” today’s culture without being “a part of the” culture. I love music, God does too. Since we were “created in God’s image” we were made to create music. But God’s man has to recognize the enemy uses music in the battle for your mind, and your children’s mind, not only consciously but sub-consciously. The beat and lyrics can create anchors in the mind that are never forgotten.
Besides, while I love secular rock-and-roll, there are also lots of amazing Christian music artists. Explore the music, message and maker of that genre. It’s an adventure your whole family will enjoy.
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As the Founder and President of Every Man Ministries, Kenny Luck’s experience as the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church helped him to create the blueprint for a men’s ministry. Tools, tips, and resources are at men’s fingertips with the Sleeping Giant program. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com.