I have wanted to write about this for a whiiile but I kind of lacked the extra push, but something came over me today and I feel that I should talk about one of the things I managed to overcome in my Christian life.
Secular music. How did I even begin to listen to secular music? I grew up in a Christian home where the only music we listened to was Christian music, and nothing more. We listened to a lot of country (Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn etc), Bluegrass (Cockman Family) and all these other artists, Byskal Sisters, Heirloom, Twila Paris, Believers, Younce Brothers, The LaFontaines. My mother was always strict about what we sung, I remember one of our friends taught us some silly song, “Bekeshu bekeshu bekeshu, wakutuma ndani kuti ubekeshule…” and mum was mad, she told us to stop with the silly music.
I went to a boarding school when I was about 11 years old (I was sooo tiny and people told my dad off for being so cruel). I think that’s where this spirit came in. I started singing a lot of secular music and I turned one of my notebooks into a songbook (a lot of my Malawian friends can recall this craze). It started getting serious when I was in form 3. I went from the girl that knew no secular music, to the one people come to for lyrics and “what song is on the top chart?” I knew EVERY SONG and EVERY LINE. I had the pleasure of owning some nokia phone with a radio and come Friday, we would gather and listen to music all night long. During the holidays, I would listen to the radio nonstop, and memorize them like mad.
So I ended up collecting a lot of music (thanks to free downloads and fast internet). I had a loooot of music. Rap. R n’B. Pop. Rock. Dancehall. Soul. I started getting into Folk and Indie towards the end. I had albums on albums. My iPod was full of all this music. But deep in my heart, I knew this was wrong and my conscious condemned me. It would trouble me but I would brush it aside, like, not now. My time to quit will come.
One of the times that I was really shaken up was when a certain preacher came from South Africa, and he talked about the dangers of secular music. He said that music is somewhat something we all seek, because when we were babies and we cried, our mothers would cuddle us and the sound of her heartbeat would soothe us. So music still soothes the soul, and the devil knows this, so he took over the music industry. My heart was POUNDING! I knew that sermon was about me. I went home and I was just so troubled. I went to my laptop and hid all the secular music, synched my gospel music to my iPod and prayed that I overcome. So you might think this is where it all ended. Wrong! I did this for about a week and I just missed the music! I went back and unhid all these songs. The devil is sooo clever. You know what kept coming over me? Just hide them, and see if it works out. Don’t delete them yet, what will you listen to when you get rid of all this music? The same boring songs you’ve listened to since you were young? YAAAWN!
Here’s the trick, dear friend, this is free advice, take it or leave it… when you feel like getting done with some habit or some sin, DO NOT HESITATE, and will I repeat: DO NOT hesitate. The devil will throw reasons your way and it will make sense. DO NOT listen! Just gain the courage and uproot your sin and then commit it to God. Don’t hide it, the way I did, or give it a ‘trial period’. Just flee from it. The devil is very crafty; he’ll find a way to make you start over. He’s had tons of years practicing how to attract people to his end. I prayed that I overcome, and I decided that maybe it wasn’t my time to quit secular music yet.
So I wasn’t allocated a room on campus yet (I was in first year of uni), so whenever I got on campus, I would go to a friend’s room in between my classes or during lunch. The name of this friend is Hope, and she is one of the most serious Christians I have ever encountered. She’s the type that doesn’t play with Christianity and I remember wondering if we would ever get along at first. But we did, and she is the sweetest girl I know.
Anyway, I went to her room one afternoon and I was lying on her bed, with my iPod beside me. She asked for my iPod so she could listen to some music. This is the part my brain had to come up with a legit excuse, but I don’t know, I guess my brain was just tired that day, I came up with no excuse and I watched myself hand over my iPod, knowing full well she would see my music (90% was secular music). But I came up with a plan. I went to my music and went to the playlist with gospel music and I prayed that she wouldn’t go anywhere else. I went back to ‘sleep’ (like I would sleep in such a situation!).
You know how iPods auto-rotate the screen and show you the albums when you even slightly tilt it? Yup. It did just that. I watched her as she browsed through my album artwork and we all know how filthy album artworks are with secular artists (half naked women, painted faces, gang signs with rap artists, et cetera.) I knew that Hope wasn’t just going to let this go easy. But she went back to the playlist and listened for some time as she did her school work like she saw nothing and I continued sleeping (or just lying there with my eyes closed, letting what just happened sink in).
The next day was a Friday, I remember, and I slept in that morning because I didn’t have classes on Fridays. I was in bed when I got a text. YUUUP! From Hope! It was a really long text and she sent it by parts, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the words. She told me that she saw the music I have was not right for a Christian and that God isn’t pleased with such. She said that millions of souls are sent to hell just because of this music and that it is all controlled by the devil. She told me to move away from it all and I should see the marvelous things God will do for me and she ended it with some really loving words (something like I hope you don’t get offended, I’m just trying to help you, love you!). It was nothing I hadn’t heard before, but it all just kinda… *clicked* that day, and somehow, my eyes were opened. I read those texts with tears in my eyes and I remember pulling my beddings over my head and I just cried and cried. I just cried out to God to help me. I said, “God, you know I’ve wanted to quit for a long time now, but I can never get round to it.” I texted her back and thanked her, and told her that it’s something I’ve been struggling with for a while.
I texted our music director and asked to meet him. I explained to him what I was struggling with, and you know what he did? He told me testimonies, a lot of them! I was slightly confused; because I was expecting him to scorn me (I play the keyboard in church so I expected to get schooled on the dangers of mixing worldly music and Christian music). At the very end, he said, I’ve told you all these stories because I want you see that nothing is impossible with God. Then he told me these words: Go and delete ALL the secular music you have; in your laptop, phone and iPod. That is the only solution.
I was attached to my music. I had been collecting this music and it seriously felt like someone was ripping my heart out. But I went and deleted every secular song and I prayed for forgiveness and strength. It was not an easy thing to do but I kid you not, my walk with God took a turn after that. I can’t lie and say that after I deleted that music, the songs were also deleted in my mind. No. Some songs are still stuck in my head till today and I honestly wish I could get rid of them forever.
God has been so gracious to me. I don’t think I could have done it without him and it’s been over a year now, all I listen to is Christian music, and you know one awesome thing about it? You can put a gospel song on repeat all day and you won’t get enough of it! I couldn’t do the same with secular music, I would get bored by the second day and I would just want something different. It hasn’t been easy, friends can shove this track in your face, and the neighbours blast a song that used to be my favourite, but I thank God that I am still willing to fight it out. I am in no way better or holier simply cause I overcame this one thing. There are still some things I need to overcome and I admit that I cannot do it without his help.
If you feel like you want to overcome secular music, my advice is that, pray about it. Really pray about it, and don’t do it until you’re sure you will follow through. I have heard a lot of people tell me they deleted their secular music, but ended up redownloading them. It’s not easy, I know, but you will see how different things will be when you completely surrender to him. Christian music is important for your spiritual growth and ungodly music just drives you away from him. Music has such a massive influence and as I keep saying, the devil is in it. Shun it! Keep away from all things that pertain to sin.
-1 John 2:15: Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.