Mark 4:21-25 – “And He was saying to them, ” A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? 22 ” For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. 23 ” If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 25 ” For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” NASU
We’ve all heard the sayings: You are what you eat. You are what you think. You are what you watch. You are what you listen to. Well, if you haven’t, you have now. I’ve used this last warning to young people regarding the music they listen to almost incessantly. Music is an incredibly powerful tool or weapon and has the power to shape moods and lives more than almost anything else we encounter in this life. It is reported that the average American listens to music more than five hours each day. I’m an exception to that rule because I do not. It is not that I don’t like music and unlike some, who need music playing to do virtually anything, I perform better in peace and quiet. There are times I, like the prophets of old, want music to help shape and set my mood. I like worship and praise music in Church and in private because it provides a powerful springboard into the presence of God. However, I do not want mindless repetition, I want substance. (That is my preference, so don’t assume that I am blasting praise and worship in many churches today, I am not.)
There are the “Big Five” set of musical preferences researchers discovered among adults. They grouped them in the following classifications:
- Sophisticated (classical). These sounds tend to be instrumental, complex, inspiring, intelligent, or basically classical music.
- Unpretentious. They listed these as nice, simple bluegrass and country. These tended, according to those polled, to be relaxing, romantic, and even sad.
- Intense (shredded vocal cords and violent guitar). Identified as the distorted, electric, fast, loud, aggressive sounds of rock music.
- Mellow (slow jazz). Very relaxing and romantic sounds, sometimes sad but characterized as R&B, Soul, and Soft Rock. Some even said elevator music.
- Contemporary. These included electric sounds that dominate a wide variety of genres from rap to electronica.
Do you see what is missing from that survey? Christian or Gospel Music and its various genres. How about Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts? How about simply opening your mouth and allowing the Holy Spirit to sing through you? That was missing because the survey was done by those involved in Psychiatry and Psychology dealing with human behavior. Have you ever stopped to realize that most of the time we get some very strong impressions of people when we ask them what music they like? We may be very wrong, but we make judgments or determinations based on music preferences.
What I want to address is the fact that the secular and the religious both acknowledge that “What You Listen to Shapes Who You Are.” If you listen to the NEGATIVE all the time, your attitude tends to become negative and you find depression creeping in. You become dissatisfied and disillusioned. You may even find that you become somewhat hostile, quick-tempered, and even excessively judgmental. On the other hand, if you listen to the POSITIVE all the time, you will likely be more accepting and optimistic. The danger in that is you may become utopian and fail to face some realities in life that demand rejection of some ideas, actions, and behaviors. There is a balance in life.
Jesus warned those listening to “Take care or be careful what you listen to.” His next statement cannot be disassociated because it is directly addressing the formulation of ideas, thoughts, and beliefs. He said, “By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” WOW! What I listen to provides the inspiration, wisdom, knowledge, and shapes my perspective. It then propels me into action and provides a basis for my evaluation of everything in life. My knowledge base increases, whether good or bad, through that which I allow to come into my ears, my head, and my heart. If I follow the directive of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8-9 – “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” I grow rightly and become the person God has designed and desired me to be.
Be Careful What You Listen To because it either provides life or death. That might mean you have to develop a new set of friends or provide parameters for them in your discussions. You do not have to be the extreme Pessimist or Optimist but seek for Truth and feed your inner man with things that strengthen and build you up. Know the evil, address it and know the truth and good and embrace it.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!