Today I feel compelled to share an issue that the Lord has brought to my attention. While it specifically deals with Christian Hip-Hop(CHH), I feel that this teaching is still universally applicable within the context of Christian Culture.
Anyone who knows me on a personal level certainly recognizes my passion for CHH Music. In fact, I have been following CHH way back when Lecrae released his sophomore album: “After The Music Stops”. As a whole, I have witnessed this sub-genre not only vastly improve technically-speaking but also increasingly expand in popularity with Lecrae recently even breaking through into the mainstream. This mainstream exposure has caused Lecrae to become one of the most controversial rappers particularly in the view of some Christian Circles. However, I assure you that this is not the purpose behind writing this article. The focus of this article is on the realization with how swiftly CHH(or any product of Christian Culture) has the ability to turn into an idol if Christians are not careful. My goal is to address this issue as humbly and carefully as I can because I do not to want to offend anyone.
To begin, let me make it abundantly clear that CHH does have an unmistakable value in outreach ministry specifically within the context of youth audiences in today’s culture.
The underlying problem exists when we allow CHH to govern our lifestyles and by when it turns into a substitute for relying on God’s Word as the final authority. The relevant text to this concern comes from 1 Corinthians 6:12 which teaches,”‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything”. The aforementioned text is from the New International Version which uses the word, “…mastered…” while the International Standard Version says, “…but I will not allow anything to control me”. Both translations emphasize that as Christians we must never allow anything–product of Christian Culture or not–to take the dominating role in our lives. When CHH becomes the controlling force in our lives, it is no longer considered solely a source of Christian Entertainment, but it turns into a proverbial golden calf(an idol).
Music in and of itself is a very easily accessible mode for entertainment. Consequently, it becomes exceedingly convenient for Christians(myself included) to become too absorbed in the pleasure of listening to CHH or any form of Christian Contemporary Music. In our minds, this may then serve as grounds of justification for why we decide to spend less time in obedience to God through: reading His Word, praying to Him, serving others, and/or disciple-making. Ultimately, as Christians we must ensure that we are always putting God first, especially before the time we invest in enjoying any product(s) from Christian Culture.
After self-examination I can honestly say that I granted CHH a little too much control in my own life, which in turn has actually fueled certain prideful inclinations. Moving forward, I am definitely a lot more aware of the sometimes negative latent impact(s) that products of Christian Culture are capable of having towards the life of the Christian.
In order to help ensure that product(s) of Christian Culture do not gain this unintended level of control in our lives, I have provided two recommendations below:
1. We should moderate and regulate the time we spend with product(s) of Christian Culture. Having some form of accountability with other like-minded believers is instrumental here for continued success.
2. We should always be striving to keep God as our Number One Priority by keeping Him first in every facet of our lives. This is accomplished through and by the sanctifying-work of the Holy Spirit which each believer has been indwelt and sealed with(2 Cor 1:22). However, we still need to work out what the Holy Spirit has worked in with fear and trembling(Phil 2:12) through pursuing and maintaining both an active prayer life and Bible-reading life. Therefore, there is no passivity with respect to our responsibility despite common claims to the contrary.
All-knowing and all-satisfying Father,
I pray that this blog post is able to penetrate hearts and allow minds to discern when any product of Christian Culture becomes too authoritative in our lives. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.