Having never participated in Lent, I did not have many expectations going in. So one night in the Oasis when Mark asked the group what we would give up, I decided to not listen to secular music for the next forty days.
After looking at all the Christian music on my iPod and deciding that, while the Chris Tomlin I had was good, I knew I would need something other than the five-hundred Zoe Group albums I had from my mom to even things out. So after getting some Christian music from friends and doing a little shopping on iTunes, I went straight to Kenya the day after Lent started.
Preparing my mind during the first several days in airplanes, airports, and vans travelling through the African countryside for what was to come by listening to music that praised our God was amazing. It is difficult to describe how well it helped to purify my mind just by removing Satan’s foothold in my headphones he so loved to use. Hearing God’s praises sung all day helped me see the beauty of Christ in everyone I came in contact with in Africa.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that this decision was having effects in all aspects of my attitude. When I was in a bad or foul mood, I couldn’t listen to music that my flesh wanted, so that I could revel in my bad mood or feel empowered by anger like I know happens with so much of the other music these days. Instead, I had to sit in silence and chill out, or I could find ways to worship God through all of it by the music and thoughts I put into my mind. Also, when I was in a good and happy mood, I was able to give thanks and glory to God for what He had done. Because I had not listened to a ton of Christian music in the past, this new addition of God to my lyrics helped me to see Him in a whole new way.
Also, because the music that I listen to goes with me almost everywhere I go, having God’s music everywhere I went allowed God to be decompartmenalized in my life and allowed him to be present in so many more areas of my life than He had been. When I listened to songs that directed my thoughts toward Him in all different situations, my beliefs and conviction to live for him were no longer confined to church or chapel situations.
I constantly had Hillsong or Chris Tomlin lyrics in my head and it helped me to have God on my mind. Having His praises constantly on my mind encouraged me to put and see Him into so many common parts of my life. It really did open my eyes so that I could see more of what He was doing, or what needed to be done. My thoughts were much more in line with His and I could sense my attitude becoming more like that of Christ.
Now, I’m not saying that just listening to Christian music made me become a super-Christian and completely changed the way I saw everything around me, but things were different. And I believe that this difference in the direction towards godliness is what God wanted to show me. Seeing the differences after changing just my music led me to wonder how much all of our stuff really does distort our view of God, and what we are missing around us when our minds are focused on exactly what everyone else’s minds are focused on. The music that was different than the world’s allowed me to see and think about the world differently and reveal God to me in places I had never seen Him before.
— Ross DeJarnatt