Okay. So you guys might think I’ve totally lost it, but I’m going to share this story with you and do my best to explain anyway. Fire away with comments at will!
So last night, we had our mid-week weekend, where we enjoy dinner together and watch a movie and relax a little. I was working on dinner when we realised we didn’t have a movie, and Mark decided to run back out to get one. We were listening to a playlist of music on my iTunes that someone made for me ages and ages ago. A lot of the songs are fun, happy stuff and I was singing along and smiling at the Bear and he was happy. He was still in his highchair crunching crumbs while I was juggling chicken simmering on the stove, veggies roasting in the oven, couscous getting ready to soak. The Bear’s bedtime was approaching so I took him through to his room to get him into PJs and a fresh nappy.
Meanwhile, the next song on the playlist came on. It was a catchy little ditty that was really popular a few years ago, but it had some not so nice language in it, (I had been given the unedited version that wasn’t on the radio). It really wasn’t singing about very positive stuff. I felt like I should go skip the song, but, honestly, I was just kind of lazy, and also thought it was kind of catchy, and I just left it running. The evening went on and as we were enjoying our dinner another song came on, also just … dark. Honestly, I don’t know how else to explain it. It was from an album I used to listen to a lot ages ago, and the more I listened to the lyrics the more I realised how bad it was — it was clearly speaking about the crucifixion, but not in a positive light. Mark and I talked about googling the lyrics in order to figure out what the heck it was all about, but once again, I didn’t get up and change the music.
We enjoyed the rest of our evening (Mark rented Elf for me, which was a very special holiday blessing) and we had a little ice cream and headed for bed. This morning, however, I can only describe it as if the bed woke up on the wrong side of me. I was grouchy and struggling to be nice as we sorted ourselves out for the gym — I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. We came back from the gym and it just seemed like one thing after another. I discovered a hole in my new t-shirt…I accidentally dropped our camera (it’s fine, thank you Lord)…things weren’t going my way and I wasn’t handling it well at all.
Finally, I sat down to spend some time in the Word and prayer, and Proverbs 3 was where I started off. I arrived at verse 7 and could go no further:
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
This sort of stopped me in my tracks. What does being wise in your own eyes have to do with fearing the Lord and departing from evil? I thought about it for a while, and felt like the synapses in my brain were beginning to make some new connections.
What I felt like the Lord showed me was that we sometimes think we can handle evil. In our own wisdom, we don’t always think we need to depart from things that really aren’t beneficial to us. In my wisdom last night, I thought, “It’s not a big deal, I can listen to this without it really affecting me.” This might be where you think I’m starting to get crazy, but bear with me.
I am quite sure I sometimes think I have more wisdom than I do. And I don’t always understand the repercussions of my decisions. I know for sure that music that gives glory to God sends the enemy packing. I have been in conferences where there was so much praise happening — people surrounding an auditorium just worshiping and praising God — and the presence of the Lord was almost tangible. People’s lives were being changed. People were being set free from things that they’d struggled with for decades. All because of the glorious presence of God, being welcomed in — where the enemy cannot stand to be, and literally just cannot be. (Light and darkness metaphysically can’t inhabit the same space at the same time.)
So here’s the question. Is the adverse also true? Am I welcoming in the enemy, am I giving place to him, when I listen to music that is clearly not pleasing to God? I’m not speaking about Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes — I mean music that is definitely, clearly against the things of God. Am I telling the enemy to come on over and hang out at my place when I listen to music that gives glory to selfishness, adultery, unfaithfulness, and bad relationships? At this point you’re going to have to work pretty hard to convince me otherwise.
The reason I think the two statements are together is this: the Lord constantly warns us to depart from evil. Flee from temptation. Run, you ninnymuggins, run! And I think part of the reason is that we think we can handle sin sinlessly. But who are we kidding? We know there is a spiritual realm, we know our battle is not against flesh and blood — but we don’t know everything that’s going on around us. We don’t know what we’re inviting in. So today, if for no other reason than because the Lord says so, I’m going to be doing some spring cleaning in my iTunes collection. (It is actually springtime, heading toward summer in the southern hemisphere.)
This is the promise that follows:
It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones.
I’d like to sign up for health in my flesh and strength in my bones! So instead of being “wise” or trying to carefully navigate life on the edge of faith, with one foot in the world for the sake of “relevance,” I’m going to fear the Lord, and depart from evil. Praise the Lord who is so much wiser than I am. Please Lord, direct my steps, teach me to fear You, and to walk in your ways!