I’m about to admit something publicly for the first time. I figured I’d have to sooner or later. One can’t be heavily involved in the Church and keep this a secret for too long:
I rarely listen to music—even worship music. I don’t care much for spiritual books (devotionals and books to help one grow in the faith).
Here’s why. For years I have observed a phenomenon in the church at large. Lay people and ministers alike clutter their minds with noise—Christian radio and cd’s—from the time their feet hit the floor in the morning until the time they tuck their toes in bed. Some even continue the noise after that—with soothing sounds to lull them to sleep. The next morning they start the day with waterproof shower music and turn on the car CD player the second they turn the key. There is always music playing. Good music. For some, 100% God-music.
But it’s noise.
Then they find themselves at a crisis or crossroad and need an answer from God, and they can’t figure out why He isn’t speaking.
Perhaps He can’t compete with the noise in our heads. Perhaps we rarely get quiet enough to hear His voice. It is still and small, as He told us.
We don’t hear that still, small voice through the noise of the lyrics still buzzing in our ears long after the music has been shut off, so what do we do? We read. We pick up the latest hot item from the hottest conference speaker and hope that maybe we can hear God’s voice in the pages written by one of His spokesmen.
But too often it’s just more noise—another voice singing a different tune. And it clutters our minds and clouds our thinking and clogs up our spiritual ears.
The last time someone handed me a spiritual book and said, “This will change your life,” I took him up on it. I sat down and began reading, and my spiritual insides growled with hunger for the real book. This one was a packaged, processed, instant substitute for God’s potent Word. It was watered down, “Truth lite.” It required no meditation or digging for meaning. It was the stuff of man-made revelation fluff. I felt homesick for the real thing.
Worship music has its place in my life. I love high-powered God-songs in corporate worship on a Sunday morning. Or while I’m scrubbing the bathtub or when I need a little something to help me get through those unavoidable hours of kill-me-now dinner preparation and vegetable chopping. Or when I'm overwhelmed with sorrow or gratitude and the only appropriate response is to sit at the piano or turn on a CD and dance.
Niche devotionals can be helpful in defined seasons of life (I just helped to write one.). There are spiritual books that have changed my life and I continue to recommend to them to others.
But nothing can compare to the miracle that happens when one fills up the quiet with the sound of munching on the pure, rich Word of God.
And then waits.
If we keep it quiet, He’ll be sure to speak.