These are some of the popular new slogans for radio stations that are otherwise known as “Christian.” And a majority of the songs they play are merely that: Positive. Encouraging. Uplifting.
I am slightly hesitant as I write this post, because I don’t want to give the wrong impression that I dislike Christian music or that I think Christian music isn’t a good thing. On the contrary, I do like Christian music; and I do think Christian music is a good thing. For one thing, we are called to worship the Lord in song. Too numerous to count are the Scriptures that reference “singing to the Lord,” “making music to the Lord,” and “worshiping Him in song.” And for another thing, we are called to watch over our hearts; and choosing Christian music over secular varieties is one way we can do that. Proverbs 4: 23-25 says,
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.”
We must watch over the things we hear (as well as the things we see) because they have a great effect on our hearts–the very center of who we are. When we put into our ears and our eyes things that are holy and righteous and true (see Philippians 4:8), from our hearts will flow things that are holy and righteous and true. Similarly, when we put into our ears and our eyes things that are dishonorable and unpure, from our hearts will flow things that are dishonorable and unpure.
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
A while back, thinking I was just mixing things up a little, I tuned my radio to a secular station and was listening to songs that were completely new to me. Before I realized I had even heard and understood the lyrics, I found myself singing these utterly sinful words–words that were in complete opposition to a Biblical lifestyle. As I heard this darkness coming from my very mouth, I knew that I simply couldn’t allow myself to continue listening to such music, the lyrics of which were the furthest thing from holy and righteous and true.
So, back to “the better alternative” I went: Christian radio, “better” being the problem. Of late, I have become a little disconcerted with contemporary Christian music because so much of it can hardly be called Christian. The other day I was listening to our local Christian radio station and noted that only three songs in a 45-minute period even used the name God, Jesus, or Lord. In fact, had I not known I was tuned to the “Christian” radio station, I probably wouldn’t have known I was listening to “Christian” music at all. Nothing set it apart from secular music save the lack of blatantly offensive lyrics. I could hardly sing along as I reflected on the fact that all I was doing was singing about feelings and not to–or even about–God. Indeed, most of the songs were just what the station claimed they would be–positive, encouraging, uplifting–and nothing more.
How sad it is that so much of the Christian music industry has become watered down to the point that it is no longer distinctively Christian. It is sure to be “positive,” “encouraging,” “uplifting”–and it certainly is “the better alternative”–but too much of it isn’t worthy to be called worship.