I was listening to the familiar strains of “Amazing Grace” with a friend. It was a beautiful interpretation and rendered even more special since it was performed by a well-known pop singer. After the last note, we both nodded in agreement over the superb interpretation. My friend smiled and declared, “He sings gospel songs! I know he is very religious and a Christian.”
I respected my friend’s observation. Yes, this artist did record an album of gospel songs but very little of the rest of his life suggested that His relationship with God was important. My friend’s observation was not unique. Others have reached the same conclusion when they hear other entertainers perform a gospel song or a song praising God. It is admirable and refreshing to hear popular singers singing Christian songs, however, singing a Christian song does not make one a Christian, any more than attending church makes one a Christian.
What about the converse? If a committed Christian believer sings a popular secular music song, does that imply they are not a Christian? While only God knows the true faith and commitment of each believer, singing a secular song does not automatically make a Christian a non-believer, any more than attending a basketball game makes one a basketball fan. Yet, there is an important caveat.
Many years ago, I attended a church that advocated a restrictive view regarding the type of music to which its members should listen. Some members, including myself, found the guidelines to be harsh and Puritanical. However, it did cause me to carefully reflect upon my own choices and after much prayer, I realized that I had been careless with the music to which I was listening. Many of the songs contained lyrics that were undeniably ungodly. It did not matter if other Christians sang these songs. God was speaking to me and He was the only one to whom I was accountable. I needed to change.
My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.
1 Corinthians 4:4-5 (NLT)
In this passage, the Apostle Paul was answering his critics who were questioning his credentials and qualifications as a minister of Jesus Christ. Rather than directly arguing with them, he pointed to Jesus Christ, the only true Judge qualified to examine his heart and true motives. Like Paul, I needed to come before my Lord, Jesus Christ, and admit that I was being ignorant and insensitive with my choice of music.
If I am willing to obey, God will bring to light all of my secret sins and reveal my true motives. His Word is the sword of Truth that cuts through my soul and spirit.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.