One of the things I took up during Lent was to only listen to Christian music. I've never taken on a lenten practice before, so I was excited to see how God would use this to draw me closer to Him.
First, I want to clarify what I mean by the phrase 'Christian music'. I would classify the music I listened to into two categories: Worship songs and soul songs. This categorization is a bit black and white, but for the purpose of this post it's okay.
I define these types of songs as ones that contain deep biblical truths and are primarily centered around Christ's holiness and our desperate need and desire for Him.
These are songs that speak primarily to ones current life circumstances. I wouldn't expect to sing these types of songs on Sunday at church, and wouldn't want to, but that doesn't mean they don't contain words that reflect biblical truth and words that speak into ones life circumstances.
Here are three things I gained during Lent.
God Was On My Mind. A lot.
I went to bed with Christian songs in my head. I woke up with Christian songs in my head. I got out of my car singing Christian songs. My mind was constantly on Christ and the truths that were being sung in the songs. Therefore, it was easier for me to come to Christ in times of temptation/attack, desperation, and concern for His work in my life.
God Reminded Me of My Sin
A line in the song, All I Have is Christ, sings "I had no hope that you would own a rebel to your will." I have been burdened by this line for the past 40 days. We are not for God - our flesh is against our Spirit (Gal. 5:17). Romans 3:10-12 shows that none of us seeks God or does anything to merit salvation. We would not seek God if He did not seek us first. Praise God that it is only through Him that we have come to know Him.
As I woke up one morning, in my still barely conscious state, I Shall Not Want was playing in my head. It was a stinging reminder of who I am in the flesh (my sin) and who I am in the Spirit. We need to put away our sinful desires and our will for our life and seek God's desires and His will for our life. Doing this can be very painful, but also very freeing. Our flesh is powerful, more powerful than we give it credit for. Our flesh is waging war against us. Should we not also wage war against it? We must take extreme measures to pursue Christ. I think of Matthew 13:44. If we come upon the great treasure that is Christ, are we willing to sell all that we have to obtain it?
It was painful, being reminded of my sin, but God did not leave me there. He pointed me to the cross and reminded me of His love for me and my position in Christ.
God Reminded Me of the Joy I Have in Him
Because my mind was constantly on Christ and the truths in the songs, I drew close to God throughout my day and I desired to be closer to Him. I paid close attention to the words in each song, and for many of them I tied the truth in the song to passages in the Bible. The song gave me a hunger for truth and I fed that hunger by going to the scriptures and discovering more truth. Drowning myself in God's truths on a daily, and hourly, basis helped me love and desire God more.
The thing I came to love the most during this practice was many times when I woke up, no matter what hour the Lord woke me up, I had a song playing in my head. Often times the song was very timely in regards to events and my current circumstances. For example, I woke up Good Friday morning with Mercy Tree playing in my head, "Death has died, love has won". Praise God for that timely reminder! A central theme to these early morning wake up songs was either a call to repentance or a reminder of reliance. What a way to start the day.
This was the first time I committed myself to something during Lent. I really loved it and I look forward to doing it next year, and throughout this year. All of the songs I listened to on a daily basis impacted me in one way or another. I wish I could expound on each of them here, but I think I will leave it up to you to take on this commitment, or one like it, and experience first-hand what God does to you.
My Top Songs
- Hidden by United Pursuit, Will Regean
- Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin
- All I Have is Christ by Sovereign Grace Music
- I Shall Not Want Audrey Assad
- Yearn by Shane & Shane
- Set a Fire by Will Regean
- Behold Our God by Sovereign Grace Music
- Refine Me by Travis Cottrell (some faithful/courageous/dangerous words in this song)
- Hard Love by NEEDTOBREATHE
Spotify Playlist: Mix Tape