Music can be good therapy. Music functions in Scripture in many ways. It is one of the divinely appointed vehicles for the word of Christ (Colossians 3:16). Music can be a gift of grace enabling the repentant, depressed person to walk in obedient faith, (Psalm 32:7) regardless of their circumstances (Habakkuk 3:17-19). It can provide structured discipline in renewing the mind (Psalms 119:54; Colossians 3:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 10:5).
Music with its heightened pitch and rhythm characteristics facilitates our communication with God in jubilation, plea, and dependent cry. The command to sing and make music is one that embraces all believers. Music is also a divinely ordained vehicle for discipling the word of Christ into our hearts. It helps us to concentrate on cognitively restructuring our minds and emotional expression through the music. The goal is to bring the light of the Word to our thoughts, attitudes, evaluations, and judgements. It is also regulating affective expression providing a vehicle, structure and content to cry out to God and find joy in Him.
As we discipline ourselves in the biblical use of music, we must see it as a vehicle to be used not as an end in itself. Music to discipline us must carry the rich word of Christ and employ the use of our mind. Music sung outwardly can lead us to inward singing.
Music, although the priority is inward in the heart, it must captivate our outer person to produce a response to God. Our worship has God as the audience. We are to sing and make music directed to Him and to please Him.
When music carries Christ’s stipulations into the heart it aids the Word to indwell in such a way that there is a settled submission to its demands in our lives.
When experiencing emotional pain in our lives it compels us to “cry out” to God through music. We learn the discipline of acknowledging present emotion and regulating our address to God through music. After crying out to God take a few minutes of silence before God to prepare your heart to give attention to God in His Word. The goal is to experience physical and spiritual rest in the Lord as we imagine the Lord Christ in His radiant splendor. As we get a clear picture of the Lamb slain for us and His explanation of events unveiled in the divine order, focusing our mind on God’s view of the circumstances, self, and the future. The result is that our hearts then start to move to sing for joy as we are renewed with the Truth.
Pain Music Plan
When we experience pain whether physical or emotional make a pain music plan. Look for songs that preface our expression of feeling by addressing Christ as the “Rock,” “Refuge,” “Strong Tower,” “Shelter,” or “Shield” (Psalms 61, 84).
Acknowledge our present emotions honestly telling God how we feel. Own up to our frustrations and pain before God (Psalms 61, 84, Habakkuk). Choose a specific song for our plea and follow the music with a brief prayer bringing our particular concerns to God.
Summon all that is within us to “cry out” to God, letting our inward yearning be demonstrated by outward signs like raised hands, kneeling, or crying.
Restructure our thinking with musical confession (1 Corinthians 14:15; Romans 12:2). Meditate on the Word of Christ through the use of music when experiencing anxious and depressed feelings. Think on what God says in the lyrics of biblically based music about the believer’s difficulties, privileged position, responsibilities, and future.
Recognize the statements we say to ourselves about our circumstances, self, and future. Compare those thoughts to God’s truth. Confess each unbiblical thought as sin.
Renounce each thought specifically, promising to replace these with God’s interpretation of reality.
Image the glories of Christ contained in the music. Delight in and soak in the security-building word-pictures of Christ’s splendor, sovereignty, and sufficiency.
Confess to God our commitment to live by the Word of Christ. In spite of our circumstances or how we feel and sing for joy with abandon.
In light of living in a fallen world seemingly filled with evil, we can feel as if the circumstances are hopeless and dire. One of my favorite old songs to pull my heart into perspective is John Cennick’s song Children of the Heavenly King.
Children of the heavenly King
As we journey let us sing;
Sing our Savior’s worthy praise,
Glorious in his works and ways.
We are traveling home to God,
In the way our fathers trod;
They are happy now, and we
Soon their happiness shall see.
Fear not, brethren; joyful stand
On the borders of our land;
Jesus Christ, our Father’s Son,
Bids us undismayed go on.
Lord, obediently we’ll go,
Gladly leaving all below;
Only thou our leader be,
And we still will follow thee.
Lift your eyes, ye sons of light,
Zion’s city is in sight;
There our endless home shall be,
There our Lord we soon shall see. Amen.