Music is a more powerful force than most of us realize. Any performer can attest to its effect on an audience, but some fail to reckon with the seductive power it can wield over its creators and performers.
The glow, the glamour, the magic of music making, the sense of power at moving an audience, the applause and adulation (or even fantasizing about applause and adulation)— this is heady stuff, and it’s easy to be caught up and swept away by it all.

Goals can change from servanthood to stardom. Focus can change from ministry to money. Subtly but surely, we can change. Temptations grow as egos grow.

Maybe, in fact, we’re simply so in love with our music that we refuse to hear what we don’t want to hear, what we may even suspect to be true.

We don’t see, because we don’t want to see, that we are no longer in charge here. The Music is in charge and we have almost literally become slaves; certainly we’re addicts; even idolaters: music first, us second, God in there somewhere.

Trust us, God won’t bless that for long. We may be a musical success, but somewhere down the line, our lives will fall apart.

When we fight against God Himself and His purposes in us, even our prayer life takes new directions:

“Lord, why is everything going wrong? I’m successful—Why am I miserable? Why can’t I overcome these temptations anymore. They’re getting too strong for me!”
“Lord, help me to be a good Christian! . . .”
“Lord, help me to be a Christian! . . .”
“Lord, help me! . . .”
“Lord, help! . . .”
“Lord! . . .”
“Lord? . . .”

About this time, if we’re fortunate, we remember: “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” Then, if we’re smart, we back right up and start over.

He’s there all right, but He’s waiting—waiting for us to quit defending ourselves and to recognize that we need freedom from the power of our music, and deliverance from where it’s led us.

He wants back the Number One spot our music and careers have usurped. Matt Redman summed it up in his song, “(I’m coming back to the) Heart of Worship.”

So we must start at square one—back to worship, and to the Word. Not only is the Word God’s sword, it is His scalpel. He uses it to cut to the root of our problem and expose our motives. He is able to heal without a trace the damage we’ve done to ourselves by the misuse of the explosive, captivating power of music.

Don’t make the mistake of asking to be delivered totally from the enjoyment of music. It’s a gift from God to enrich our lives. If we don’t enjoy it we can’t create it, and God doesn’t intend that. He simply wants to pull it from its idolatrous place, to remove its power to blind us and inflate us with pride. He wants to transform it into a meek servant, under our control.

Meekness doesn’t mean weakness. Jack Hayford has pointed out that in New Testament Greek the word for meek describes the fully disciplined war-horse. This powerful creature lost no strength by being trained; its power was increased and focused through discipline. But that power was now under the control of its master. No longer was there danger of it galloping off in its own direction or inflicting injury on its rider.

So our music, controlled and focused by the Spirit of God, will have more power than ever before, doing all God intended it to do. Possibly more than we could have dreamed.

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Sharon Lowenthal

My daughter heard you speak at Estes Park in the 70s. She said you were haughty and impatient with aspiring songwriters and performers, and my sensitive daughter became very discouraged.  She left the conference early and came back home.  She continued leading the sacred dance and music ministry in our Messianic congregation, but only for a short time.  Her life ended by her own choice.  Our daughter was not obsessed with fame, applause, nor adulation.  She was very gifted musically, and was a light for life’s darkest corners. 

You present yourself as an example of someone who manages to balance success with humility, and that your music is more powerful than ever before, simply because it is controlled and focused by the Spirit of God.  Pat yourself on the back. 

As the mother of my deceased child, I see you only as my daughter saw you.

27 February 2017
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