Have you ever heard someone make the statement, “It doesn’t matter what kind of music I listen to. It doesn’t affect me at all?” Are we really impervious to any influence that music may have on us?
Remember the story of King Saul in I Chronicles 16, where the Bible says that the Spirit of God departed from Saul and an “evil spirit” troubled him? His servants, wanting to help, told him he should let them find a musician to come and play for him. As the story goes, David was called to the king’s house, because he was “cunning in playing.”
Notice what happened when David played his harp for King Saul. (By the way, as far as we can tell from Scripture, this was purely instrumental music, no words were sung.) The music affected Saul in three distinct ways: “Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”
- “Refreshed” – this word means “to breathe freely.” The music affected Saul physically. In this case, the music caused Saul to be able to physically relax; he was freed from physical tension.
- “Was well” – he was cheered, he began to do better. This indicates how the music affected his soul, which includes the mind, will and emotions. He was encouraged, his attitude toward life was changed.
- “The evil spirit departed” – our spirit is that part of us that relates to God. The music had a spiritual influence on Saul. David’s harp playing was able to help Saul return to a condition where his spirit could again communicate with God.
So we see that music, apart from any words, has power to affect us physically, mentally and emotionally, and spiritually. Just because some people naively deny it’s power, does not mean that music is without influence.
It is not difficult to find current examples of music where certain groups of people attempt to utilize these aspects of musical influence.
- Physically – Music therapy is one field of study that uses music to help people improve physical and mental wellness.
- Mentally & emotionally – Have you ever noticed how important a movie sound track is in making the audience feel the emotions involved in the storyline?
- Spiritually – Think of different religious movements and the types of music associated with them. Consider the music of new age, eastern mysticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholics, Protestants, or Baptists.
Music has the ability to affect our body, our soul, and our spirit in ways that completely bypass our ability to recognize or quantify these influences. This is why it is so important that we do everything we can to surround ourselves with music that meets Biblical criteria.
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”