The question of “should I listen to this or that?” has, no doubt, crossed almost every believer’s mind at some point in their journey. Some have had it figured out, some haven’t, and some have stopped trying to figure it out. No matter what stage we’re in, truth remains that
this is a very important issue, even more so considering in the world we’re living in today. Somehow this topic has become less talked about today, and because there seems to be a lot of ambiguity and ineffective communication on it, it may have become something that is now seen as “not a big deal” among a lot of people, especially young people. Please do not believe this lie. The music you constantly listen to is a really big deal, and it’s a ploy to make us inattentive to what we allow through our ears so the evil of this world can plant seeds in our hearts when we’re not even noticing.
Between 90 and 95% of mental activity takes place outside of our conscious awareness. This is referred to as subconscious priming. This means that majority of what we learn is done without the realization that we’re learning it. Our brains don’t have an on-and-off switch, we cannot choose when and where to assimilate concepts and stimuli from our environment, our brain is doing this non-stop from dusk to dawn. This is why at certain times certain images or words pop up in our minds and we go, “how did I remember this?”. Subconscious activity greatly influences our day to day behaviours from the emotions we feel to the satisfaction we have in life. Continuous stimulation with the same stimulus can make one act in a way that is consistent with the stimulus without the awareness that they are acting as such.
So what happens when you’re listening to music? Whether you know it or not, you’re learning. Your brain is receiving all these input from the words and melodies. So it is basically a scientific lie to say that you’re just listening to a song “for the beat and not the lyrics”. This is because you cannot control how much of the song your brain receives. Constantly listening to music with similar underlying themes primes your brain over time, it begins to deem that theme as an acceptable one, and eventually weaves that theme into your thoughts, words and actions. This does not happen in a day, we’re not even aware that it is happening, but slowly (and surely) the music we allow ourselves to hear regularly, amongst other things, has immense and often-underestimated power to shape our lives.
So, do you listen to songs about someone always wanting more money by all means and you’re wondering why you’re dealing with lack of contentment? Listening to songs with lyrics promoting promiscuity and you wonder why you can’t get rid of immoral sexual thoughts? Listening to songs highlighting how someone can’t get over their ex and you’re stuck as to why you haven’t moved forward since the breakup in the last 6 months? I bet if a rapist was caught and his/her phone was searched, there would be songs in there with lyrics that promote sexual assault. The genesis of a problem may not always be a spiritual attack, sometimes its roots may be found in our playlist.
Throughout the Bible we can see the importance of our thoughts. We are told to guard our hearts (figurative expression for the mind), for out of it springs forth the issues of life. Jesus taught us that as a man thinks in his heart so he is. We are even advised on the quality of what we should fill our minds with as believers in Philippians 4:8; things that are true, noble, reputable, gracious, beautiful and full of praise. If music can influence how we think, then it’s safe to suggest that the music we listen to should have these qualities and should not contain principles opposite to our beliefs as children of God.
I’m not here to say that you should or shouldn’t listen to this or that artiste or song that is not my place. However I know that there are two people that you cannot lie to: God, and yourself, and you know those songs that have questionable lyrics. I just implore you to critically evaluate your music library today, listen a bit more carefully, and acknowledge what each song is actually saying.
I’m just realising that this is going to be a two-part blog, because I have more that I want to share with you all. I’m passionate about this because I had struggled with this for years. I’m finally learning to stop ‘rationalising’ and just surrender, and I just want to share what I’ve learnt on this journey. I know that not everyone struggles with this, but for those who do, I’m here to tell you that there’s grace and to help for you once you allow God to come in. It’s not easy, trust me. It’s going to require you dying to self, you may fall short a couple of times, but you will look back and be happy you made a change.
Now you know, if you didn’t know before, why you should watch what you listen to. Next week I’ll be sharing on my experience along with those of others, on the “How”. Bye for now.
Thank you for reading.
- How the Songs We Listen to Affect the Way We Think-Elena Bernier and Omolara Osofisan; February 2017.