Almost two and a half years ago, at an evening meeting at New Wine, I felt God telling me to get rid of all my non-Christian music. So, when I got home, I did. It was a hard thing for me to do because at the time, I only knew of two or three Christian artists that I actually enjoyed listening to, and I really did love some of the secular bands on my iPod. I’m a big fan of rock and alternative music, and some of my particular favourites were bands such as Lostprophets, Angels & Airwaves and All Time Low, all of which had to go. I’m not going to lie, it was hard to press delete on all those songs, but I managed to do it by not allowing myself to hesitate and just pressing the key.
For me, the next few weeks provided some of what I still consider to be one of the clearest examples of God’s faithfulness that I’ve seen in my life. That sounds a bit silly considering I’m only talking about music, but I’m not going to try to deny my reaction to it. God starting giving me Christian music instantly, as in, I found the first new band the minute after I’d deleted the secular music. Back at New Wine, I’d heard the song ‘God of Wonders’, a moderately popular Christian worship song that had always been one of my favourites, though I’d never downloaded it onto my iPod. So, that day I decided to get myself a version of it, and I downloaded the version performed by Kutless on their album ‘It Is Well’. It followed that I looked for more Kutless music, and found that I’d already discovered a Christian rock band that I really liked.
Over the next few months, I came across more and more bands in a variety of ways. One non-Christian friend recommended the band Skillet (who have been my favourite band since then), and another friend who was also not a Christian at the time recommended Decyfer Down. I also used sites such as the phenomenal www.jesusfreakhideout.com, www.youtube.com and www.christianrock.net to find more and more artists as I felt my way into this area of music. Now, I have easily as much Christian music as the secular music I used to have and new bands such as Hawk Nelson, Disciple, Falling Up and The Almost have replaced the secular bands that I used to love.
I think that it’s a common misconception, particularly in Britain, where our Christian music industry is miniscule, that Christian music is of a lower standard than secular music. That view is wrong. Having listened to both sides, I now honestly say that I prefer Christian rock to secular rock. This is not because of the lyrics and the subject matter (though I prefer the Christian lyrics), but because of the sound of the music. I’m not an expert in such things so I can’t critique the skill of the bands, but I just prefer the sound of the Christian bands. In my opinion, there is one reason for this: passion. I’m not saying that secular bands aren’t passionate, I know that most of them are, what I mean is that in the Christian rock, there is something that permeates the singing and the playing. I can only describe it as a fire for God, a driving force behind the music that infuses it and makes it something more. If you don’t believe me, listen to something like ‘Forgiven’ by Skillet or ‘Eternity’ by Disciple for examples of this.
I am also aware that not everyone will agree with me on this. I remember something that happened only a few months after I made the switch, when a guy at school demanded rather roughly why I only listened to Christian music, was it because I thought that secular music ‘wasn’t good enough’? ‘No,’ was the answer. There is a huge amount of talent in the secular music world; the reason I switched was because that’s what I felt God was telling me to do. Moreover, I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t listen to secular music. Some I know do, and some I know don’t. It depends on what they feel works in their relationship with God, and that’s not something that I can judge. Just as some Christians watch things like Harry Potter and some don’t, it’s a matter that they have to sort out between them and God. That said, I would recommend that Christians have a listen Christian music because there is some really good stuff out there if you look for it.
The one piece of advice that I’d give is that if you feel guilty listening to something, or if you feel it’s not good for you to listen to, then stop and get rid of it, don’t let it come between you and God, because trust me, it’s not worth it.