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I Love Rock 'n' Roll...

As Christians, one of the hardest things to do is live a daily life of Christ. I'm going to be honest here. It's hard to consistently be aware of displaying a Christ-like attitude and behavior. A common theme or question I hear is "when I accept Jesus as my savior, do I have to quit doing ______, or listening to _______, or watching _________?". Those are good questions. To be honest, there's no real defining answer, as it's all situational and falls between you and the Holy Spirit.

When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment John 16:8 (NIV)

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict us, tell us when we're sinning and being unrighteous. The question is: are we listening? Are we being a part of the world or are we just visiting?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

God wants us to be a great witness to Him and to not do anything that will not glorify Him. In Romans, He tells us to not conform to the 'pattern' of this world but be 'transformed' by the renewing of your mind. What does this mean? Do I have to stop listening to the music I love and stop watching the same movies and tv shows?

Possibly. If it does not glorify God, what does it do? That's a tricky question and answer, so I'm going to be as blunt as possible and break it down as simply as I can.

We live in a wicked world where the enemy will do everything he can to block people from accepting Jesus. Those who have accepted Jesus will have a harder fight. He's going to work overtime and harder to pull them away from Jesus than those who don't have a relationship with Him. Why? He wants as many people as he can get, as he knows how this all ends and wants to hurt God by removing His children from His presence.

So, to answer the question and address the elephant in the room. You do live in this world. It's fine to enjoy some of the things that are here in this world. However, we have to remain with the mindset that when we accept Jesus as our savior, He takes precedence to everything. Is what you're listening to glorifying Jesus? No? Ok, does it disrespect Jesus? Is it sacrilegious? If it does, then I would think the Holy Spirit would definitely urge you not to listen to or watch it. If not, then you have to use something called discernment.

Is what you're listening to or watching sinful? This is where discernment comes in. If you're going to listen to rock 'n' roll, then what message are they presenting. Is it one of sex, drugs, and debauchery? Then maybe it's best to avoid it. Those things don't glorify Christ and can be a serious stumbling block for your brother or sister in Christ (or even yourself). Some people struggle with alcohol\drugs and listening to songs about it can glorify that behavior and lead to potential addiction issues. The same for sex, which can lead to pornography and other things that don't glorify Jesus.

One of my favorite things to do is go to concerts. I love heavy metal, rock 'n' roll, and just going and being in a crowd as we enjoy a loud concert. Do I engage in the lifestyle that goes along with it? Absolutely not. If I go, I'm an ambassador of Jesus, not someone to throw judgment and shade at the people in attendance. I'm there to have a good time and listen to music, not judge those who are in attendance.

I made what is called a 'battle vest'. It's covered in patches of bands and things I like. In this picture with two of my kids before a concert, you can see my vest. On it, I've got crosses, scripture, and other identifying items that tell people I'm a servant of Jesus. Sure, there's a Metallica patch on the back, but it opens up conversations and allows me to witness to people who otherwise would feel as if Christians are too judgmental. Here's a pastor at a concert, wearing a vest with heavy metal band patches on it, telling me about Jesus. Can Christians do that? I thought they were judgmental people who shunned and talked about people like me? Just because I listen to a certain type of music does not make me an uptight Christian. No, it makes me a person, an individual, who likes certain things and loves his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The difference is that I know the difference between the world and the Kingdom of God.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

Let's get one thing straight. Just because I listen to a certain type of music, watch horror movies, or certain tv shows- that does not define me. Heavy metal is just music. There are heavy Christian bands. Don't believe me? Look it up. That's the style of music and the content and message is something else entirely.

If I felt the Holy Spirit tell me not to listen or watch something, I wouldn't. There are shows I used to love to watch and they crossed a line and I won't watch them any longer. Family Guy is one of them. There are certain bands I won't listen to any longer. There are shows I won't watch. Some of them cross certain lines and when the Holy Spirit tells me not to watch something, I won't do it. If they make fun of Jesus, that's it, we're done. If they are sacrilegious or toe that line of blasphemy or irreverence- I'm out.

I set my mind and focus on Jesus and fulfilling the Great Commission. If I'm in my car, you may hear praise and worship music. You may hear some hard rock. You may hear some heavy metal. I feel as if these things rule over you, there is a problem. If not, and you casually enjoy them (as I do), then it's okay as long as it does not disrespect Jesus. I'm aware of the Spirit and if He tugs at me, telling me not to, I listen. It's that simple.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB)

You mentioned music a lot. What about movies and tv? The same thing. If it's something filled with sex and debauchery, it's probably best to avoid it.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

You have to be careful. Whatever you put into your mind and your heart can come back out. Is this the reflection of Jesus you want to be? Are you being a good witness? The Holy Spirit will convict us and tell us when we're sinning, when we're watching or listening to something we shouldn't be, or when we're acting inappropriately.

The question here is: are you listening to the Spirit? Are you an ambassador of Jesus? If you can honestly answer yes to those questions, then you probably have good discernment about what to listen to and\or watch. If not, maybe that's something you and God need to discuss. Ask Him to prompt you with the Spirit. He will if you're sincere, but if you're not ready to give something up, it's not going to do you much good.

Rock on and serve Jesus!

Pastor Stephen

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