Music is constantly evolving and changing. It is not always easy to determine if the music we hear is pleasing to the Lord. Nevertheless, the Bible gives us five foundational principles every Christian should follow in order to make the right decisions about music.
Have a Desire to Please God
In Romans 14, God requires every Christian to have discernment, and each Christian is responsible to Christ for his actions. Some Christians make decisions based on what they like or prefer without ever asking the simple question, “What would please the Lord?”
Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God. Before you make any decision about music, be sure to check your motives and decide that you are willing to obey God, even if that means giving up the music you like or prefer.
Give Deference to Others
Jesus does not separate the first and greatest commandment from the second. He says that “the second is like unto it” (Matthew 22:39). We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. Not only should we be mindful and willing to obey the leading of the Lord in our music, we ought to, “Follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
Consider these questions: How will my music help my fellow Christians in their walk with God? Will my music cause people to notice a difference in my life (Psalm 40:3)? Would my music offend anyone close to me?
We don’t live to please men, but to please God. However, in being deferential toward our fellow believers, we are in fact obeying and pleasing the Lord.
Be Humble toward the Subject of Music
Volumes have been written on the topic of music and its psychological, physical, and spiritual effects. As you research the topic, one interesting fact emerges: godly and well-meaning music experts (as well as theologians) do not agree amongst themselves about all the meanings and effects of music. But one thing is clear, music does affect us. Therefore, we should be careful in how we allow it to do so.
Realize that some people will agree and some people will disagree with you. But as you read the Bible and consider music’s effects, make the best decision you can with the information you have. As the Lord gives further guidance or as you discover new information, be willing to adapt accordingly.
Have Faith in the Holy Spirit’s Leading
Is God unfair to require us to make decisions about something not clearly dictated in Scripture? Of course not. God desires that you would do right, but in order to please God we must exercise faith (Hebrews 11:6). If it were all spelled out in detail, we would not need to trust God and live by faith.
In order to make the right decisions about music, we must believe that God will guide us and give us peace when we are making the right choices.
Request Wisdom from God
We must have a true desire to please God and edify other believers. We must humbly realize that we cannot always depend on music experts to answer all our questions. We must believe that God will make His will plain to us and lead us in right decisions. So what is left? Simple: just ask. God promises to give wisdom freely to anyone who sincerely asks (James 1:4).