The month of August is coming to a close and we’re getting ready to wrap up our 31-day challenge. It’s been such an incredible month, and I pray that you have been as convicted about the habits that you have been building these past 29 days as I have.
In today’s post, I want to go over a couple of additional habits that we didn’t have time to cover this month. Although these habits are not to be prioritized to the height of the other habits that we have discussed, I personally believe that they have been crucial to my walk with Christ. So without further ado…
What You Listen To: Adding Christian Music to Your Collection
Until the age of 12 or 13, I was never really allowed to listen to secular music. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my parents didn’t cover my ears if there was a secular song playing in a store, but as a general rule, we didn’t listen to it as a family. It wasn’t because my parents felt that secular music was of the devil, or that it was wrong to listen to secular music; in fact, both of my parents enjoy a large variety of music that isn’t necessarily “Christian”. The reason that we didn’t listen to it much as a family was because my parents wanted to instill into me the habit of listening to Christian music at a young age.
To this day, I am thankful for that habit and for their wisdom in this area because although I am now allowed to listen to music that isn’t labelled “Christian”, and although I enjoy listening to a number of secular artists and musicians, I recognize the importance of listening to Christian music. I’ve witnessed the difference that it makes in my attitude, as well as my general outlook on life.
Here’s the thing: Secular music can be awesome. There are a lot of talented, secular artists and bands that are putting out some incredible, high-quality, powerful music. I don’t deny that; like I said, I’m a huge fan of a ton of secular musicians. But my dilemma with it is this: Secular music is almost always about me, about you. The focus is on us. To try and illustrate my point here, I want to actually show you snippets of the lyrics from a couple of my favorite songs.
I know I can treat you better than he can
And any girl like you deserves a gentleman
Tell me why are we wasting time
On all your wasted crying
When you should be with me instead
I know I can treat you better
Better than he can
~ Treat You Better
Well, I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
~ I Won’t Give Up
There’s nothing wrong with listening to those songs (at least, I hope not…) They’re sweet, they have a nice sound, and they’re fun to listen to. But where’s the focus? It’s on us. And if you’re anything like me (which I’m pretty sure you are, because you’re human), you already struggle with thinking too much of yourself.
In Proverbs 16:5, we read: “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”
Pride’s a big deal to God, and we need to realize that he takes it very seriously. In Luke 9:23, Jesus commands us, his followers, to die to ourselves, to our pride and to our selfish ambitions. This is why I believe it so important to make sure that we have a healthy balance of Christian and secular music. I know that balancing out the worldview of secular music with Christian music makes a huge difference in my life, and I can say with confidence that it will make a difference in yours as well, if you just give it a chance.
What You Read: Adding Christian Books to Your Bookshelf
A couple of years ago, I was required to read three Christian books in order to earn a scholarship to a summer camp that the teens of our church attend. Before this, I had never really given the notion of reading Spiritual Growth books much thought, but I found myself growing more through those books in weeks than I had grown in the entire year prior. I became excited about reading God’s Word again, and I began to understand passages of Scripture in a totally new way.
Now, I know that we’re not all the same, and I know that not all of us grow in the same ways. Not all of you reading this will be as affected by spiritual growth books as I have been. Nonetheless, I strongly encourage you to give them a try. Even if you’re not an avid reader, push yourself to get through at least one Christian book before you rule them out together.
Below, I have listed a few of my favorite spiritual growth books as a reference tool to help you as you begin building the habit of reading Christian books. I hope it helps!
“To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain” by Matt Chandler
“Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman
“I Am Not, but I Know I Am” by Louie Giglio
“Crazy Love” by Francis Chan