Let’s talk about tv shows and secular music
Let’s have a chat shall we? Sometimes I feel like a lecturer just talking at people with my posts. I really want this to be a discussion, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I want to engage with you guys ok?! So don’t just read it and close the tab, let me know what you think too!
As with all things, before I get into the koko of the matter, it’s always helpful to begin with a definition. According to the dictionary, secular refers to something relating to worldly things or things not regarded as religious or spiritual. My definition of ‘secular’ (I’m not a huge fan of the word but I use this term for lack of a better one) music is basically any music that is not glorifying to God.
I’ll give a bit of background regarding my relationship with music and tv shows just so you have a better idea of where I’m coming from. Growing up I LOVED tv shows! I have fond memories of watching One Tree Hill, the OC, Gilmore Girls and Dawson’s Creek even though looking back, I had absolutely no clue what was going on in a lot of them. (Till today I can’t tell you what Dawson’s Creek was about, does anyone even know??). At one point, I was obsessed with tv shows, I was watching about 8 or 9 shows per week. I even had a list to keep track of what days the episodes came out. All I can say is thank God for change because it was deep! I watched everything from the ratchets – Love and Hip Hop, Real Housewives of ATL, Bad Girls Club – to the fan favourites – Scandal, Suits, Game of Thrones, House of Cards – and everything else in between – The Borgias, Orphan Black, Chicago Fire, Blue Bloods. I watched a LOT of shows. I’ve been there, done that, got the shirt and all that but as of today, I don’t watch any. Why? You may ask? And honestly, there wasn’t an aha moment where I realised that all these shows were absolute trash and absolutely counter-productive to my walk with Christ and general life as a Christian. Nope. I literally just woke up one day and didn’t have the desire to watch any of these shows anymore. It was really that simple. However, I also know that when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and begin to develop a closer relationship with God, change happens. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things become new. Philippians 2:13 For it is God working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. In the same way, I believe God will first take away the desires to do things which do not please Him, in order to give the desire to do things which do. The more time you spend in God’s presence, the more He will renew your mind and cause His desires to become yours. Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
My relationship with music is a bit different. I absolutely LOVE music, and there’s been so many songs which have ministered to me and literally spoken to the depths of my soul at various points in my life. Music has a beautiful and unexplainable way of communicating when my own words do not suffice. But this wasn’t always the case; like most people, I grew up listening to all the popular artists like Usher, Chris Brown and I was a shameless Beyonce stan and former member of the Beyhive for a number of years. But at a point, I really had to sit down and evaluate the lyrics to the songs I was listening to. And actually, this happened as a result of the worship and gospel music I stared listening to. John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. This meant that shouting the lyrics aimlessly meant absolutely nothing. Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says “These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me”. True worship comes from the heart and from a place of surrender, so I had to ensure I understood the lyrics of songs and actually sang them intentionally. So I began to do the same for regular music and I clocked that the lyrics to 99.9999% of the songs I loved were absolute trash. There was a ridiculous amount of swearing, sexual referencing or promotions of the wrong types of behaviour. So how could I on a normal day, sing songs of praises declaring my love for the Lord and then, within a few hours, happily scream lyrics that blatantly or covertly reflect the exact opposite?
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Now some people might be thinking, “it’s really not that deep, it’s just music/a show” but it is. Everyone is fully versed on the first few chapters of the book of Genesis, which detail how creation came to be. Notice that God spoke things into existence. Genesis 1:3 Then God said “Let there be light” and there was light. We are created in the image of God, therefore the words that come out of our mouths are powerful! You can’t just be singing any next lyrics about shooting people or getting wasted when you KNOW that such activities are extremely negative and harmful. You may not realise it as well but by watching shows or listening to songs that promote such things, it’s having an effect on you. If you’re watching shows where people are swearing and doing all sorts of things that you KNOW the Bible frowns upon, you become accustomed to such things. Before you know it, you start swearing too or you become numb to those swearing around you. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled; bad company corrupts good character. Let me put it this way, if God came to spend the day with you, would you happily watch all those shows with Him? Would you listen to all the music you listen to in front of Him? If not, then why do you not feel some type of way doing it now? God is always with us, He sees and knows all we do. If you wouldn’t watch a show or listen to certain types of music if He was physically hanging out with you, then you really shouldn’t be doing so at all.
And this is not to say that all shows are bad or all types of music that aren’t Gospel music are bad.
But you also ought to exercise wisdom in the way you approach these things. We’re all grown folks here, kind of, you can do as you please. (1 Corinthians 6:12 “I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is good for you) But ask yourself these questions before you click play on that song or tv show. What values are being promoted through what I’m watching or listening to? Is watching Olivia Pope frolic around between a married man and a trained assassin REALLY beneficial to my life? Do Stevie J, Mimi and Joseline represent the kind of relationship I’m striving for in my life? Am I really benefitting in ANY way by watching the ridiculous amount of nudity and violence that the new season of Game of Thrones has to offer? I think you get the idea. It’s no coincidence that faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) It’s super important that you filter what you listen to because whether you know it or not, it definitely affects you. 1 Corinthians 10: 31 whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
I know it’s easier said than done, particularly regarding music because it’s very difficult to avoid hearing all the new songs. It’s playing on the radio, in stores, on television, everyone on social media is talking about it. I won’t lie I do love Afrobeats, admittedly, the issue of lyrics doesn’t come up as most songs consist of a catchy beat and a lot of inaudible words. However, when it comes down to it, I know the type of music I’d rather be listening to. It’s also important to find a healthy balance; I’d say I listen to ‘secular’ music about 5-9.5% of the time. As mentioned previously, you cannot continually spend time with God and leave the same. He WILL do a work in you and begin to change the desires of your heart. So if this is something you are struggling with, spend more time in God’s presence. When you consistently carve out that time to spend reading your Bible and in true communion with God, you’ll find that Love and Hip Hop suddenly doesn’t appeal to you anymore. You’ll hear that *insert popular artist* song and find that you’re put off by the meaningless or derogatory lyrics.
I also feel like there’s this HUGE misconception that worship/gospel/Christian music is boring and very churchy. This is such a myth! There is so much variety of music that falls under this umbrella. I’m not even sure it would be accurate to view gospel or worship music as a genre because there are SO many varying sounds and individuals making music that glorifies God. Some days you might want to turn up for Jesus with Tye Tribbet, or you’re feeling for some fist-pump type music with Hillsong Young and Free or the more mellow and powerful sound like William McDowell. There’s so much out there, you just need to take the time to look for it! (For starters, check out these Lively Music posts ) The same goes for tv shows; Youtube has become my go-to site when I really want to watch videos. Check out my previous post for some awesome content from Christian Youtubers.
My intention in writing this t is to get you thinking more carefully about what you listen to and feed your mind with. If you want to keep watching Scandal and you genuinely don’t feel any type of way about it, then fine, do you boo. Oooh! And that’s another point actually; how do you FEEL when you watch these shows? For me, any attempt at watching a LOT of shows is just uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel right; my mind seems to be okay with it but deep down I feel a very steadfast feeling that I can’t explain. I know that’s the Holy Spirit communicating with me. The last thing you want to do is ignore that feeling, because the more you do so, the more difficult it becomes to actually hear, and you’re basically weakening your ability to discern that voice. So pray about it, be aware of yourself when watching or listening, find what works for you and stick to it.
On that note, have you seen the trailer for the new season of Love and Hip Hop ATL?!