At the start of this day I was definitely not the epitome of rainbows and sunshine. Tired and groggy, I had to force myself out of bed. As I got in the car and began to take my regular route to work, I turned on the radio. Everything changed. At that exact moment a new song began to play. My mind shifted to thinking of how good I have it: God’s graciousness, a loving family and husband, good health, the opportunity to do work that matters, a nice apartment, and the list goes on. Life is good!
The next melody that came whirling throughout my car was upbeat and pumped me up for the day. My hope for the day was riding high. I had done a 180 from when I first had gotten into my car from when I stepped out of it.
It’s not every day I am truly stirred by two to three consecutive decent songs on the radio, but today I was. That’s the power of music. Music has a profound effect on man; touching our heart as nothing else can. A melody has the ability to become a message that resonates with our thoughts and emotions. As Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”A simple song can morph our outlook from negative to positive, from melancholy to reassured, from passive to ardent conviction.
How can music so greatly affect an attitude?
Throughout history there are myriad examples of the impact music has on a person’s attitude. Music and rhythm have been used by warriors to get pumped up and organized for going into battle. Drum beats can scare those being attacked--as in the Battle of Jericho. Trumpet sounds can induce feelings of courage, heroism and hope. And on the other hand, music can have a calming effect. Humming lullabies hush babies to sleep. Music is used to heal, to recite stories, preserve memories and to praise God.
What does the Bible say about music?
Paul wrote to the Ephesians to be filled with the spirit, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Why? Whistling a happy tune and being a positive person showed an aspect of being filled with the Holy Spirit. God tells us to do things, such as resting on the Sabbath, and we do not always understand the benefit until later. Perhaps if we have this attitude of melody in our hearts, it will help us to make a positive impact on others. It will keep us healthy. It will motivate us to reach new heights we could not have aspired to without something to pump us up.
Music can deliver you from a negative attitude. In 1 Samuel 16:23, young David played his harp to counteract a depressive King Saul and soon, “Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” David’s music soothed the King’s restlessness and allayed his anxiety. It made him feel good! A note of caution: David played appropriate music to King Saul's circumstance.
David did not choose music that would be “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,” as he sung to the king’s heavy heart (Proverbs 25:20). “We take a wrong course if we think to relieve those in sorrow by endeavouring to make them merry” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary). David played appropriate music that was fitting for connecting with the king’s mood. Do you know someone that needs encouragement or motivation? Play or sing them a song; songs with edifying words that inspire. If the song includes God’s Word like a psalm or hymn, even better. If someone at church seems to be down in the dumps, “minister with music” in an appropriate manner and help edify the Body (1 Chronicles 6:32). Revisit the many verses in Psalms that tell us to play music or “Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises” (Psalm 98:4).
Not only can music lift someone from depression and trigger the release of endorphins, it can strengthen the weak. What is the “ultimate song” that motivates, heals and encourages us? Written in Isaiah 12:2 and Exodus 15:2, it is the Lord that is our song of salvation! His plan and His purpose is our strength and our song.
Music brings immeasurable joy. Music is the companion of inspiration and encouragement. Music is a beloved tool of the Lord. I find it interesting that David, a man after God’s own heart, was musically-inclined and wrote most of the Psalms in the Bible praising God. May we all follow in his example and have melody in our heart with the Lord as our song.