Music is a language for all souls. It is a gift from God that helps us praise, worship and thank Him in a uniquely magnificent and joyous manner, as well as express who we are, our content, personal beliefs, and life experiences and lessons. No other form of utterance lifts up the soul, causes the spirit to rejoice, and moves the body joyfully all at the same time.
Music has two parts—melody and lyrics. Instrumentals are tuned according to the melody. However, the more vital of the two is the lyrics. No matter how amazing a melody is, if its lyrics are offensive, the [offended group in the] audience won’t accept the song despite all of the work put into the music, no matter how awesome the output. This makes songwriting an important point of focus in the music-making process. For the Church, five purposes stand out:
- Primarily to tell the Truth rather than impress, which is the other way around in mainstream. It is in realizing this that we’re able to praise/worship/thank God through music, because we acknowledge the truth about Who He is as God, which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 2:1-6), and also lead others to do the same. Truth, by its nature, sets free (John 8:32,36), and often times, it is in listening to music that many are reminded of the awesomeness, power, and might of God, so that we can go back to Him, not only in surrendering worship, but also to seek Him in times of trouble, sorrow, and heartache as the one true Deliverer (Psalm 100). When truth is the emphasis, it invites the listener to participate in an intimate experience with God, which leads to a deeper knowledge of Who He is; it is in this place that faith, hope, love, joy, comfort, and peace are found and restored. The best of Christian music carry a message that magnifies God and sets people free.
- To pray and lead others to do the same who don’t know how to or are in situations where they are at loss for words to do so; everyone, every once in a while suffers the struggle of wanting to pray, but in a particular moment of sorrow, can’t seem to find the words to do so. A lot of times, songs which carry the exact words which the heart longs to supply but are unable to, are quite helpful. There are countless stories of people who claim that certain songs helped them through very trying times by providing the words of prayer that they needed when their hearts and minds were too distraught to come up with those words at the time they needed it the most. These psalms or psalm-like songs reflect heartfelt prayers that emerge from a place of deep thoughts and meditation—sometimes so deep that they not only help those who need the words, but also resonate deeply with those who’d prayed similar words in the past, and so are able to have a clear understanding of the nature of circumstance or struggle that led to the writing of that particular song. This understanding comforts, increases, and strengthens the sense of camaraderie in the Universal Church, because the individual recognizes that their struggle is not unique to them; someone else, too, had been through something similar, and other people are likely going through the same at each present moment (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). This invites empathy, sympathy, and therefore, motivates and inspires prayer for and the kind needed by the saints (Ephesians 6:18).
- To praise, worship, and give thanks for the sake of gratitude and to lead others to do the same no matter the circumstance. Trying times will always come, but even then, we are commanded to thank God no matter what, even when we do not understand the reason for our trials (Philippians 4:4-7). This, in fact, protects God’s children from four kinds of evils, which are forms of backsliding (Romans 1:18-32). God requires us to be grateful no matter what, not because He is a narcissistic insensitive God, but because that command is deeply rooted in the love which protects (1 Corinthians 13:7).
- To fellowship with God individually and collectively as a congregation and also, with each other. We are made for love, in love, and by love (Romans 8:38-39). It is the center from which we best function and flourish. Yes, we are created to glorify God, but so are other things in creation (Colossians 1:15-18; Isaiah 43:7). If glory was all that God sought, then the beings in heaven, including the angels which are made a little higher than men (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7), as well as the creation of the first five days (Genesis 1:25) would suffice. Man, however, is different and stands out, in that, man is the one being that God sought to have a relationship with—like the relationship of love that exists within the community of the Trinity (Genesis 1:26-31; 3:8-9). No other being has this privilege; even angels long to look into these things, but are not as privileged (1 Peter 1:3-12). And God doesn’t only seek that He has this relationship with us, but also longs that we have it with each other (1 John 4:7-21; Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). Music reminds us of this. In music, we are ushered into the manifest presence of God that is [almost] tangibly felt, so that we are able to experience an intimate and individual fellowship with God. The beautiful aspect and miracle of this experience is the fellowship that happens with others simultaneously as each individual intimately fellowships with God. There is a wonderful and inexplicable strength and joy that come from this, and it’s [almost] always encouraging to the collective congregation (Proverbs 27:17; 10:25).
- To send out a beacon of hope to those who are alone and in despair, to let them know that they’re truly not alone in the nature of their fears, struggles, doubts, agonies, hopes, and dreams, and that the path they’re presently on has been trod by many before them, who’ve not only overcome (1 John 5:4-5; 4:4), but now live their lives as more than conquerors (Romans 8:35-37). In order words, their present troubles can be defeated, and peace, joy, comfort, and healing are possible. These people exist and usually go unnoticed in the crowd; they have no one that they believe they can turn to for help or encouragement, and truly feel alone in this world. With the right lyrics, these precious souls can be reached. Many songs have saved people from suicide, murder, cutting (or other forms of self-inflicted pain), and have led them to have the courage to step out and seek the help, love, and care that they desperately needed.
These purposes put together make music a truly important spiritual experience that every Christian needs in their walk with God. No one is exempt. With a ministry like music which directly affects the entire population of the Church (and beyond), it goes without saying that it should be taken seriously with the full weight of responsibility that comes with it, and not just the privileges.
About the Editor
Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, & a Mogul Global Ambassador. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards in 2014 in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category.
When Miranda isn’t reviewing books/entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! To learn more about her book, To Die Once, her journey as an author and her other activities, you can follow her personal website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.
The article, The Purpose of Music & Songwriting, first appeared on To Be A Person (TBAP).