I don’t have a heart for music, I have a heart for worship. I believe there’s a difference between the two. One says that you can’t live without music; the other says you can’t live without worshipping God through music. However, both share a love for music.
Side note: I’m a huge believer in worshiping God with our giftings. Music played in church is not the only form of worship. If your gift is to sing, then sing for God. If your gift is to write, then write to bring glory to God. If your gift is to be creative, use that creativity to honor God. If your gift is to play basketball, then shoot hoops in the name of Jesus. Whatever it is that God has gifted you with, use it as a form of worship to the one who gave you those giftings.
With that being said, I also believe in the importance of uplifting music. I have such a big worshipers heart that when I try to fulfill that part of my heart with secular music, I’m left empty. The year 2014 was a year that God revealed to me many things about myself that I didn’t want revealed. One of which being I have a difficult time changing things I know I need to fix (but am not ready to fix). A big area of my life that I knew needed fixing was the music I listened to. I believe music is extremely powerful. It has the ability to control and change a person’s emotions with one song. I’m not going to get off on a tangent about music that’s good for you and music that’s bad for you; everyone has their own personal convictions about this subject. As for me personally, I have to be careful about how often I listen to music that isn’t uplifting. My emotions are driven by what I listen to. I can look back at the year 2014 and see that when I was struggling, I wasn’t listening to uplifting music.
I don’t believe Christians have to only stick to Christian music, but I also don’t believe they should only listen to ‘secular music’. There just needs to be a balance. To help keep me balanced, I ask myself a few questions –
Does this song blaspheme God?
Anything that disrespects, tears apart, talks down about, or degrades my God is a big no-no. I don’t even bother putting that in my ears. Why give the devil room to plant a seed?
Is this song uplifting?
Why listen to a song that’s going to tear you down emotionally? Sometimes on rainy days it’s comforting to listen to something that matches your current emotion. I get that. But why continually listen to something that’s going to keep you down? This is an area I tend to struggle with most. I’m an “emotional listener”. I listen to music that matches my current mood. Lately, I find myself listening to one or two songs that match my mood, and then switching the music to worship music. It helps bring my focus back to the One that died just so He could comfort me on those rainy days.
What is this song representing?
If an artist is singing about something that goes completely against what I believe as a Christian, why should I listen to it? I’m basically being a hypocrite by doing this. I voice with my mouth that I’m a Christian, yet I support music that doesn’t support Christianity? It just doesn’t make sense. Listen to what matches your beliefs.
The most common excuse I hear from people is that Christian music is dull and that’s why they listen to other music. So to help those people out, I’ve listed 20 of my current favorite (nontraditional) Christian artists below.
1. The Royal Royal – Heart Beats
2. NEEDTOBREATHE – Difference Maker
// this is one of those songs you should listen to every day to remind yourself you can make a difference (and you’ll never get tired of hearing it)
3. Rend Collective – Come On
// this is the typical “hipster Christian” song, but oh my goodness I love it.
4. Jon Foreman – A Mirror Is Harder To Hold
5. Young Oceans – I Will Be Still
6. Rivers & Robots – We Have Overcome
// (otherwise known as R&R) is perfect for those Rest & Relaxation days
7. Sosaveme – Tides
8. Tim Neufeld & the Glory Boys – I’m Free
// a folk and upbeat band that’s perfect for those windows down kind of days
9. Robbie Seay Band – Cannot Have My Soul
// there’s also a pretty nifty acoustic version on Spotify
10. The Liturgists – Vapor
// this is a side project created by Michael and Lisa Gungor that is making me a tad obsessive
11. Urban Rescue – Wildfire
12. Strahan – Vineyard
// he performed a cover of Wonderwall by Oasis that’s posted on YouTube. It’s definitely worth the watch.
13. Josh Garrels – Jacaranda Tree
// he’s a great musician to listen to when waking up in the morning
14. John Mark McMillan – Monsters Talk
15. Future of Forestry – Love Be Your Mantra
16. Bradley Hathaway – How Long
// I have a confession to make: I’m in love with Bradley Hathaway. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that he mainly performs house shows or if it’s his lyrical genius-ness shown in “manly man”, but I’d definitely agree to go on a date with him.
17. Penny and Sparrow – Creature
// one of the reasons I love this band is because of something they said in an interview they gave – “[we] dream about recording music that serves as a blind-date soundtrack for people meeting God.”
18. Judah & the Lion – Rich Kids
19. The Dust of Men – What My Heart Beats For
20. Jimmy Needham – Clear The Stage
// this is a song I know I’ll never get tired of hearing
I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic! Do you have any other musicians/songs you could add to this list? Let me know!