But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. (John 4:23)
I remember when there wasn’t a Spotify, an iTunes, or a Pandora app. Heck, I remember when smartphones weren’t even a thing. Do I sound old yet? Listening to praise and worship music used to consist of the same 10-15 songs on repeat on the Christian radio station in my local area or the few songs I sang each week at church. This started to get old, and I remember riding in the car and telling my mom that I was so tired of Christian music. I soon found out that I didn’t have an issue with Christian music, but the ones I heard over and over just weren’t my thing.
Fast forward to me browsing through a Borders bookstore in their music section. I had no idea there was such a thing as Christian Rap or Christian Hip Hop. Most of the artists they carried were ones I had never heard of. As I sampled different albums through the provided headphones, I was excited to think that I could drive down the freeway blasting songs that made my heart leap in my chest and praise God at the same time.
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
We now live in an age where your favorite music is at the tip of your finger through satellite radio and the latest cell phone, tablet, or laptop. I’ve been a fan of creating my own stations for a few years now, but Praise and Worship wasn’t a category I listened to often.
I know, I know. What a heathen.
The past few months that I’ve been meeting with my small group, I noticed that all of us have been going through intense spiritual warfare. It seemed as though the enemy was making his rounds and there was always something to be distracted by so that we weren’t walking in the peace the Lord has given us. The Bible has so much to say about the power and the responsibility of praising Him for what He’s done and for His promises in our future. It must be important. Praise and worship isn’t just about music, it’s a lifestyle. I decided it was time to focus on His word and to make sure that my thoughts were pleasing, perfect, and holy.
Praise the Lord! Let all that I am praise the Lord.
I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. (Psalm 146:1-2)
I submitted a challenge to my small group to listen only to praise and worship music in hopes that it would help us all draw closer to Jesus and renew our strength in Him. Here are some things I noticed once I took my focus off of my problems, and instead gave my attention to the God who can overcome the seemingly impossible:
1) I was able to set the atmosphere at the beginning of my day. By listening to praise and worship first thing in the morning, any negativity that would try to loom over me and all anxiety of the potential problems I would encounter melted away.
2) I started to have consistent peace. Even when problems didn’t immediately go away, I set my mind on Christ. My new motto was: “I serve a Savior who died on the cross, and rose again. Any trial I have pales in comparison”.
3) I turned the microscope on to other music I used to enjoy. Sometimes we can mindlessly listen to music in the background, but–be aware–the lyrics are still processed and your spirit will be influenced. After paying close attention to what the lyrics were really saying, there are certain songs and some artists I had to give up altogether.
4) I cut out certain types of other media programming. I stopped watching certain shows that highlighted and even promoted ungodly lifestyles. There really isn’t a lot of positive entertainment, so we can start to indulge in things that are popular at the time. I definitely fell into that, but gaining discipline in one area showed me how much I was slacking in others.
5) Immediate repentance. It’s common for me to flare up in impatience and anger when I feel overwhelmed or frustrated, but instead of getting caught up in my flesh, I was able to bounce back faster. I used to be quick to excuse my outburst because “I’m only human”, but it’s so imperative to get back on course and take ownership for our shortcomings.
6) I had less desires for worldly things. Listening to praise music and having God’s word consistently on my heart put my lifestyle under a magnifying glass. Training our ears to hear secular messages also manages to seep into our tendencies towards wanting what the world has. The money, the fashion, the popularity are all fleeting, but focusing on how good God is made me more content with what I have.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalm 100:4)
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
When you purposely feed your spirit the right kind of fuel, you’ll notice the intricate way it weaves itself into every thought, intent, and action in your life. I’m not sure how long I will continue only listening to praise and worship music, but I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. There are so many amazing Christian musicians out there and we should support them and the gospel they share with their music.
I’d love for you to take this challenge and let us know the positive changes you witness.
Kytia L’amour is a writer, performer, and photographer spreading God’s love in all art forms. Reaching out to young women and sharing her story is what keeps her heart beating for Christ.
Kytia lives in sunny Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.