As a kid, I attended a Christian school and was the only one of my friends who was allowed to listen to the Backstreet Boys. My classmates were only permitted to buy Christian CDs and were strictly jamming out to DC Talk and the Newsboys (you know, before they essentially became one band).
My parents weren’t quite that strict (possibly because I was basically a senior citizen from birth and they knew my self-imposed rules were harsher than theirs ever would be), so I grew up listening to a mix of both “Christian” and “secular” music. While my Christian school friends thought I was a heathen, once I got to public school, everyone told me I was sheltered. You just can’t please ’em all!
Somewhere in my high school career, I stopped listening to much Christian music. I decided it was boring. The artists all seemed to be my parents’ age, and it was just too Adult Contemporary for me.
I liked the beats, the melodies, and the artists on the iTunes top 100 better. I got to a point where I hardly listened to Christian music at all.
And then I found myself in a very difficult season that I hadn’t seen coming. I was broken. I was empty. I was searching for hope, and I was struggling to find it.
I started listening to a lot of Christian music again. Honestly? It really started with me trying to impress a guy. Guilty! But it persisted because I found the hope and encouragement I so desperately needed and wasn’t finding anywhere else. I went from hardly ever playing Christian music to listening to it almost nonstop.
Christian radio literally got me through that season of my life. Jesus is the one who truly got me through, of course, but he used the uplifting music of K-LOVE and other local stations to minister to my hurting heart and sustain me through a long healing process. And then he did it again. And again. Every time I went through something tough, be it a financial strain or the death of a loved one or a difficult situation at work, I cranked up the music and left it on until I felt better. Sometimes that meant all day in the office with my headphones. Other times it meant all evening while I worked on my online classes. Or in the car on my commute.
It made a difference.
One month, after hearing a hundred annoying ads on K-LOVE about their 30-day Christian-music-only challenge, I decided to try it. I mostly just wanted to prove that I could do it. But I was also in the process of making some career decisions that were weighing me down, and I figured the nonstop “positive, encouraging” music would do me some good, if nothing else.
A month later I truly noticed the difference in myself. I was more optimistic. Peaceful. Content.
I still had some tough decisions to make, but I felt better about them, and I knew with more certainty that things would work out.
My situation didn’t really change, but my heart did.
Listening to godly, uplifting music truly does make a difference. I know this from experience – both from my seasons of pain and my seasons of joy.
I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with listening to mainstream music (I won’t lie, I’ll probably preorder that new BSB album like it’s 2000. 😎) But I promise you that if you are intentional about filling your mind and your heart primarily with positive, biblical messages, it will not go unrewarded. It will pay off.
This applies to any area of your life, by the way – music, movies, conversations with friends, conversations with yourself in the mirror…
Surround yourself with things that are pure, noble, right, true…you get the picture. Think on these things, and peace will abound. You’ll be better off.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
These days, I listen almost exclusively to Christian music. It’s not that I don’t like the other stuff; it’s just that it doesn’t fill me up the same way that Christian songs do. It leaves me feeling pretty much the same (if not a little down), while Christian music always leaves me feeling better – full of joy, peace, and all the good stuff.
If you’re on the fence, try doing the 30-Day Music Challenge. K-LOVE usually kicks theirs off January 1st (as do other radio stations – KTIS is a local one I like), but you can jump in anytime. Give it a try and see if you notice a difference! I will be right there with you through the end of the month. Let’s finish this challenge together!
Sincerely, a former Christian music cynic and current Christian music enthusiast 😁