Can I, as a Christian, listen to secular music? Is listening to worldly music a sin? What does God say about secular music? These and many other questions concerning secular music trouble the minds of many Christians. The truth is, secular music can be very entertaining, soothing, and captivating.
Some secular musicians are very talented and the melody they produce in their songs can be very good. From love songs to dancehall music, these songs can carry messages that relate to different aspects of our lives. But is it right for us to listen to these types of songs? Can Christians listen to secular music?
Does the Bible Forbid Christians from Listening to Secular Music?
Singing is one of the talents that we get from the Lord. Not all of us have it, and not all who have this talent practice it. The Bible, in Proverbs 18:16, says, “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” This talent of singing and producing music has ushered many in the presence of the great.
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We have witnessed many musicians being invited to present at different national functions and they earn a fortune from it. Was God specific when He said a gift ushers an individual in the presence of the great? In the context of music, did He mean that only gospel musicians will dine with kings or did He mean both gospel and secular musicians?
The Bible does not restrict people from producing or listening to secular music. However, it provides teachings that can help us make wise decisions if we really want to walk in accordance with His will.
What the Bible Says About Listening to Secular Music
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”Colossians 3:16-17
While these verses do not mention anything to do with secular music, they guide us on the type of music that we are to sing. The Bible promotes singing and listening to music. But it mentions that the music we are to sing or listen to should be spiritual songs. They should be songs that help us connect with God in a divine way.
The Bible mentions psalms and hymns as songs that Christians should sing to one another to encourage, comfort, uplift, and build. Moreover, as we listen and sing along to these songs, we are called to do it in the name of the Lord. In other words, the music we listen to should help us reflect on the nature of God, His character, and His Word. How does the music you listen to connect you with God? Does it make you feel God’s presence, peace, and security?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”Romans 12:1-2
Secular music is the new trend in the world we live in today. People love listening to secular music and secular musicians have even become more famous than gospel musicians. I have seen gospel musicians taking a turn to secular music because it trends easily and attracts many followers without struggle. But then, the Bible instructs us to offer our bodies as holy sacrifices to God.
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Can you really manage to uphold holiness by listening to secular music? Secular musicians use vulgar language and dress inappropriately to keep up with the trend. Yet, we are called to offer our whole beings to God as true acts of worship. Can we still worship God in truth and in Spirit even after listening to worldly music?
Additionally, the Bible warns us against following the trend or the way of society. It calls us to transform our minds with God’s truth and renew our thoughts through the knowledge of His word. The things we fill in our minds and thoughts should be pleasing and acceptable before God.
If God was to listen to the music you listen to today, would He find it pleasing and acceptable? Have you tested and approved if that music aligns with God’s perfect will for you? As you entertain yourself with any type of music, test and prove if it is pleasing and acceptable before God.
“Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”James 4:4
Why is secular music not referred to or categorized as godly music? It is because it praises and champions the things of the world more that it spreads the message of God. And, the Bible is very clear on the consequences of loving the things of the world. If we love worldly things more, including secular music, God will distance Himself from us.
He cannot stay in the same room where worldly treasures are stored. Therefore, we need to make a choice on whom we want to be friends with. Do we want to be friends with the world or with God?
“A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.”Proverbs 17:4
Most of the messages that secular songs pass across are deceiving and destructive. They carry no valuable message that can help us grow spiritually and closer to God. If we make it a habit to listen to these songs, we may end up doing wicked things.
When we pay attention to the misleading messages that secular songs try to convey, we may sin against God. Listening to secular music may not be actually bad, but its impact on us and our spiritual lives may be dangerous.
In Ecclesiastes 7:5, the Bible reads, “It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” The Bible does not actually refer to secular musicians as fools but as people who have little to no knowledge about the things of God. We are told that a rebuke that can convict our hearts is far better than the message we get from secular songs. Do these secular songs convict our hearts when we stray from the will of God? Do they teach us how we can repent and draw closer to God?
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”1 Corinthians 10:31
As Christians, we have been given the right and freedom to do anything we want. However, this freedom does not come without its responsibility. The Bible instructs us to ensure that God receives glory and honor in everything we do. Whether we are listening to gospel or secular music or whatever type of song, we must glorify God through it.
How does the music we listen to foster our relationship with God? Does it set us in the mood of worship? Does it make us glorify and edify God?
“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.”Philippians 4:8
The things we listen to have a great impact on the things that pile up in our minds. When we listen to secular music too much, the content and the pictures will pile up in our minds. We will think about it all the time and will always long to get time to listen to it. Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t wait to get home and listen to music?”
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They say so because the music is into them and they are into it. In other words, all that is in their minds is secular music and its effects on them. Yet, God calls us to focus our minds on things that are excellent and honorable. Can we still think about things that are pure, right, and praiseworthy and think about secular music at the same time?
The above Biblical teachings offer great insights into how we can navigate the allure of secular music. However, not all secular songs are misleading. Some carry great messages like patriotism, forgiveness, love, unity, and peace. What the Bible teaches is that we should be wise as we choose the type of songs we listen to.
It encourages us to listen to songs that help us grow spiritually and avoid songs that may lead us to sin. The Bible does not in particular condemn listening to secular music, but it guides us to make choices that align with God’s will. May God’s wisdom guide us as we try to make a choice that will help us grow closer to Him.