Like a lot of people, I was so excited Taylor would be releasing new music soon. I am a fan of her last album, and I was curious how in the world she would ever top it. Well, 'Look What You Made Me Do' is not a song I found catchy or memorable. In the past I have heard others blaring her music and singing hot singles relentlessly, but not with this one. Which is actually encouraging because we already live in a culture of blame shifting and self-righteousness. This isn't actually the first time we have heard this message from Taylor, but I will keep my focus on what I am responsible for. Which is the condition of my heart based on how I am training it to respond to the world.
The first passage and parable Jesus shares in Matthew 15 speaks on this very topic:
How do you think that laundry list of sin gets into our hearts? Sure we all wrestle a sinful nature, but this goes well beyond that. Those things listed above are fruit. Matthew 7:16 tells us that we can determine our safety under someone's influence by their fruit. Believe it or not, music is a huge influencer of our hearts and minds. In fact, neuroscience is showing us that it's probably one of the greatest activators of our brain because it touches so many areas.
I encourage you to do some more research on how music affects the brain, but it's safe to say that what we listen to matters. I'm no neuroscientist, but I truly believe that music is a huge tool for both the enemy and God. Right now, the enemy has the most influence on culture and it's is quite apparent. Never before have we seen so much civil violence, sexual assault, and people willingly being objectified because it has become a cultural norm. What is also worse than ever is depression, anxiety, suicide, substance abuse, and all kinds of psychological dysfunction. That's what happens when you take a counterfeit, your heart knows it isn't real.
We live in a society that lives by "a selife a day keeps the low self-esteem away." I can speak from personal and professional experience, it's only a matter of time before those of us running from our problems, masking them, and pretending things are alright will completely crash and burn. If you are fighting to be satisfied, happy, and have peace. Your heart is sick. Music isn't all to blame, but it is such a huge influencer that it's a good place to start evaluating. Proverbs 4:23 explains exactly why it matters we filter what we relieve.
I remember finding myself in not so holy of situations and always feeling empty, more broken, and sometimes even more hurt than before. I began to wonder why the heck I kept going back, and asked the Holy Spirit to speak up when I'm about to make a dumb decision. I wanted to understand my identity in Christ, and to do so I knew I had to change. Every time I had a choice to make, He most certainly reminded me. The friendship of the Holy Spirit was key to cleaning out my system and installing a much better filter.
Does this mean I only listened to Christian music, no. There are a ton of mainstream artists making kingdom impact, as they should. After all, Jesus did tell us to "go make disciples" in Mathew 8:19. How do we expect to do that within the walls we have built of our own genre's, book sections, lingo, etc... Anyway, everyone's filter needs to be set up differently and Holy Spirit knows exactly what that should look like for you. Once you allow Him to perform heart surgery and install a good filter an amazing thing happens. The last part of Romans 12:2 reveals it well.
That's right, lack of knowing your purpose can be directly tied to the health and condition of your heart. I found that when I cut out all the racket of 1000 different messages in music, podcasts, books, blogs, vlogs, social media postings, etc. My purpose was all that was left. Ever seen an international intersection? That's basically what is happening in our brains in our current culture of consumption.
Pettiness and revenge is not what we are called to. It is uncharacteristic to purpose and should be tossed out. Yes, people can suck. Like, really suck but we already know how to respond to that: