If we creators and dreamers want to reach our goals and realize our dreams, then staying encouraged is an absolute must. But it requires avoiding eye pollution and, as we discussed last session, “facing the music” for our choices. As with film, music is a powerful medium that can affect our emotions, thoughts, and attitudes. So, regardless of the type of music, it’s vital that we be selective and choose what’s uplifting.
Decisions, decisions. There is, however, a type of music that’s always uplifting. Inspirational music, which includes Gospel, praise and worship, and contemporary Christian (music written for and about God), elevates and encourages the human spirit — and that’s exactly what’s needed for the sometimes long and winding pursuit of dreams.
“Secular music,” no matter how positive and uplifting, only reaches us on an emotional level. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that we’re far more than just a bundle of emotions wrapped in a physical body. Each of us has a spirit, which enables us to connect to God the Creator. And we need to feed our spirits. Unfortunately, secular music is neither created nor equipped to the minister to the spirit. It may stir the emotions — it may even get our feet tapping — but it does nothing for our spirits.
That’s the purview of inspirational music, but not just any inspirational music. It must be “anointed” (or supernaturally endowed) by God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ stated, “…The helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.” (John 14:26 GW) Michael W. Smith illustrates this ministry of “reminding” in his song “I See You”:
Well, the eagle flies,
And the rivers run.
I look through the night,
And I can see the rising sun—
And everywhere I go, I see You…!
- Anointed music — or sacred music — impacts our whole being; spirit, soul and body. It brings clarity to our minds, peace to our emotions, and hope to our spirits. Truly anointed (sacred) music draws us closer to God. And being in His presence is extremely beneficial: “…In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 ESV) Joy is essential to staying encouraged. “…For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 ESV) (See Boot Camp sessions 11 through 11.3)
And speaking of strength: “Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually. …Glory and beauty are in His presence; strength and gladness are in His place.” (1 Chronicles 16:11, 27 Jubilee Bible 2000) The Messianic Psalmist and worship leader Paul Wilbur sums the benefits in his moving praise song, “In Your presence”:
In Your presence, that’s where I am strong
In Your presence, O Lord, my God
In Your presence, that’s where I belong
Seeking Your face, touching Your grace
In the cleft of the rock
In Your presence , O God….
Fellow creators and dreamers, one sure way to stay encouraged (in addition to daily “renewing our minds with God’s Word” (Romans 12:1-3; as discussed in sessions 8-8.2 and 12.1-12.3) is to “seek” His presence throughout the day. It’s not difficult, thanks to the wonderful resources that are now available: CDs, DVDs, iTunes, etc.
- Sacred music also helps to build our faith. It points us to our all-knowing, all-powerful, supernatural God and reminds us how awesome He is. Just listen to Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God,”Paul Wilbur’s “Worthy,” or Michael W. Smith’s classic “Awesome God.”
- Sacred music imparts truth from the Bible and often uses scriptures in the lyrics: Handel’s Messiah covers the entire book of Isaiah and includes the quotes such as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) By the way, although Messiah has become a Christmas tradition, Handel wrote it (and intended it) for our year-round listening pleasure and inspiration.
- Sacred music reminds us of who we are (in relation to our awesome Heavenly Father, who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to earth, to redeem us and reconcile us to God through Christ’s death on the cross. Israel Houghton’s “I Am a Friend of God” is a good example.
We’re just as passionate about sacred music as we are about inspiring movies. God has reached us and inspired us with His music throughout our long journey with the Lord. So we can truly proclaim with Andre Crouch, “Through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus; Through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word”!
And sacred music has been a real source of encouragement in the pursuit of our dreams. Which is why we routinely share some of our favorite Christian songs here, in our Hump Day Hope & Humor series published each Wednesday. (Regarding the long and winding pursuit of our dreams, we daily sing along with Ricardo Sanchez, “It’s Not Over”!)
Fellow creators and dreamers, the Lord is always “speaking” to us through books, movies, music, nature and people. Question is, are we listening? Let’s take a cue from the great judge and prophet Samuel. When the Lord called him, he quickly responded “Here I am! …Speak, I’m listening.” (1 Samuel 3:4,10)
Want to stay encouraged and motivated? Then listen to what God is speaking — through His anointed music.
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