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One of the toughest struggles I have had in my journey out of the prophetic movement has had to do with music. In my CLB’s, music was a big part of every service. It was used to ‘create an atmosphere’ which in all reality is no different from setting a mood. It’s done in movies all the time. Try watching some scary or sappy part of a movie with no music in the background. You’ll see just how much it affects your perception of the scene.

But in the charismaniac setting, mood is elevated to mean something so much more. It is almost as if the music is the Spirit Himself, it is held in such high regard and ascribed so much power. The music, we were told, has the ability to usher in the presence of God. I even remember someone selling a recording of some complex chord (no doubt in a minor key) that was supposed to be so ‘anointed’ it  would cause God to ‘show up.’

If that’s the way it works, why didn’t Jesus ask for musicians to play while he was prophesying so it could be more worshipful, more dramatic, better understood, or help Him hear from God? Better yet, why didn’t he teach the 5000 how to soak while music played? No, he taught, with spoken words, now available to us for our benefit, centuries later. Apparently Jesus needed no background mood music. He taught beside wells, among fields, along the roadside, in the synagogues, across the table, in houses, and in gardens. He prayed with his friends, all alone, with joy, and with weeping.

Actually, there isn’t any mention of Jesus doing anything musical at all, except for a little hymn singing in Matt 26:30. It seems an incidental comment, as if singing was just a NORMAL part of the passover (which it was).  BTW if they sang the Hallel, meaning Psalms 113-118, that would have been THEE most prophetic song ever sung in all the history of man, yet it gets a short little aside in scripture. No mention of anyone soaking in it.

Doesn’t that seem a little strange if music is so critical to knowing God? Doesn’t that seem a little odd if the right string of chords has the power to usher in God Himself?  Why didn’t Paul or James or Peter (or anybody) instruct the churches on how to use music to usher in the presence of God?

Why? Because music has no magical, supernatural, uber-anointed role in the Kingdom of God. Music is just, well, music. It can be used to proclaim the glories of God, or lament about your ex, wallow in self pity, or expound upon the virtues of sports cars.

The real ‘power’ of music has to do with its affect on us humans, not on how it provokes/causes/forces God to do anything. It surely increases the emotional impact of a moment, but we must be careful to not equate that with the dealings of the Holy Spirit.

The lyrics of a song are not more or less ‘anointed,’ they simply cause our minds to think about specific things. If the lyrics are all about how Susie broke your heart back in high school, I can guarantee you’ll be remembering some high school events. If the lyrics are a giant pity party of how misunderstood the singer is, you’ll probably feel all pitiful and misunderstood.

If the words tell of how Jesus suffered and died to purchase your redemption, and you are in fact, redeemed; very likely joy and gratitude to your Savior will well up in your soul.

There is probably a physiological impact of music on our brains that we don’t completely understand, and there may be some of this phenomena going on in ‘soaking’ or ‘harp and bowl’ sessions now so popular in charismatic circles. It is definitely something to be aware of, but for the most part I think the major issue has to do with ascribing an importance and a spirituality to music that is not warranted.

Just let it be what it is.  Jesus’ blood would still be able to save if another note of music was never played.  God will call people unto Himself even if another note of music is never heard. You would still be able to read and understand scripture even if every musical instrument vanished. The Holy Spirit would still be able to lead, guide, and teach you if another chord was never struck.